Fraktur is an indigenous decorative art form practiced by the Pennsylvania Germans.
For more than 100 years this was the work of self taught artists and craftsmen,
the greatest practitioners being country school teachers and itinerant penman.

Often going house to house, these artists recorded births and marriages, created
baptismal records, house blessings, illustrated music books, and religious texts.
Some of the smallest works produced were awards of merit
given to students for exceptional efforts.

Some of the most common objects, used in the daily lives of the Pennsylvania German culture, were ornately embellished. The highly decorated examples of fraktur and watercolors that recorded and celebrated the culture, remain American Folk Art at its best.

I developed a love for Fraktur in 1970. Curious about how these works were created,
I researched all I could on the subject. My ultimate goal was to preserve the art form by learning about the original instruments used, the application of materials, and to replicate original forms as faithfully as possible.

dennis stephan

© 2018 Stephan Folk Art

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717  341  1790



drawn in the manner of Heinrich Engelhard,

Berks County, PA 

ca. 1830

13.5” x 15” including frame.