Who is Cincinnati artist Ted Ganz?

Ted Ganz was a young art student when he got his first taste of Italy.

He had met a man in Florence who liked to talk to foreigners, and he had found a lifelong friend who helped him nurture that taste.

Fifty-plus years later, Gantz’s hunger for all things Italian is on full display in his Prospect Hill home and sculpture studio.

And that explains how Cincinnati was able to bring a replica of its famous she-wolf statue back to Eden Park this fall.

But first, who is Ted Gantz?

Fleischmann’s successor is an early employer

At 79, Gantz is well known in art circles. As a student at the Cincinnati Art Academy and a librarian at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the 1960s, he met and began working for a member of the famous Fleischmann family.

Charles Fleischmann III, great-grandson of Fleischmann Yeast Co. co-founder. in Cincinnati, hired Gantz to work on his Indian Hill estate. Early assignments for the art collector/yeast heir led to work on a large guest house on the property.

“He started buying my work very early on,” Gantz said.

Ganz supplements his on-the-job training from Fleischmann projects with frequent travel and training in Florence. Even today, he makes almost annual trips to visit this early friend (and others) and continue to explore Italian art.

Particularly interested in American sculptors, especially Hiram Powers. Powers came to Cincinnati as a teenager, moved to Florence in his 30s, and spent the rest of his life there creating what would become world-famous sculptures.

Powers’ work is represented in Ganz’s collection of 70 to 80 sculptures.

One is the original plaster cast of a marble bust of Countess Spencer, an ancestor of Princess Diana. It came from a flea market.

Another is the original plaster version of a bust of University of Miami founder President Robert Hamilton Bishop. (Gantz’s now-deceased partner, Miami Art Museum founder and famed “Monument Man” Walter Farmer, had nothing to do with this purchase. But the museum thought it owned Bishop’s original cast until Ganz bought it at auction. )

His home is the work of his hands

Powers’ busts share space with dozens of other works of art in Ganz’s 1880s home at Sycamore and Liberty streets. Every room is filled with the work of his hands. The walls and ceilings are distinguished by his intricate plasterwork. The flooring is wood and tiles made and laid from it.

On the third floor, the home’s original laundry and valet rooms, his bathroom features a bathtub carved from marble, and his bedroom a handcrafted four-poster bed. He built in a courtyard with a balcony decorated with both his works and those of other artists.

“I couldn’t imagine immigrating to Italy,” said the Cincinnati native. But by studying Italian art—along with its language and food—he created a sense of Italy in his home.

Ganz crafted many of the elements of her home at Sycamore Street Studio, which she runs from an adjacent space with longtime business partner Robert Dyehouse.

This is where Gantz and Dyehouse also create work for clients – furniture, fountains, gates, light fixtures, fireplaces and more.

Some of their works are installed in public places:

  • The Bettman Fountain, named after longtime Cincinnati judge Gil Bettman, is located in Eden Park.
  • Rockdale Temple in Amberley Village includes an ark designed by them.
  • At Kenwood, the courtyard of the Jewish Hospital is decorated with one of their fountains.
  • In Blue Ash, the Cincinnati Hospice Chapel features one of their decorative screens.

But most of their work is for private buyers. They are currently helping restore Alberly Manor, the Indian Hill mansion built by food magnate William Albers between 1926 and 1928.

Ganz found marble sculptures of angels in the basement of a church

Gantz is considered an expert on 19th-century American sculptors, especially émigrés in Italy.

“His depth of knowledge is considerable,” said Julie Aronson, a curator at the Cincinnati Art Museum who knows Gantz and his work.

As a donor to museums and a volunteer at his library, Gantz strives to be helpful, Aronson said. “He just cares so much about it.”

It all paid off for the museum in the late 1990s, when Ganz learned that two famous marble sculptures of angels had been moved to the basement of a local church. Florentine sculptor Oduardo Fantaciotti created the Adoring Angel and the Praying Angel for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in the late 1840s. At some point, the life-size statues were moved to St. Teresa of Avila in Price Hill and then in the basement.

“He went looking for them,” Aaronson said. “He wanted to see them… and he found them.”

Ganz said his research on Powers, who had recommended Fantaciotti for the Cincinnati committee, led him to the Angels. He mentioned their whereabouts while having dinner with museum friends. By 1998, they had found a new home at the Cincinnati Art Museum and are now on display in its Cincinnati Wing.

“They were very popular,” Ganz said.

Ganz is a “local sculptor” who helped bring the she-wolf back to Eden Park

Living next to Eden Park, Mike Williams has visited the she-wolf often over the years, sometimes rubbing her nose for good luck.

So Williams, owner of Wooden Nickel Antiques in Over the-Rhine, was devastated to learn it had been stolen in June 2022.

One of his first calls was to Ted Gantz.

Ted knows a lot about this, Williams thought.

He was right. “I knew a place,” Gantz said.

Ganz’s visual memory—the one he’d cultivated since a long-ago art teacher told him, “What you’re here to learn is not how to paint, but how to see”—told him he saw the wolf and before.

He quickly found it in a catalog on his shelf. There, on page 225, was a picture of what appeared to be a plaster cast of Lupa Capitolina – the wolf from the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

He then visited Eden Park to measure the distance between the paws left at the base of the statue.

“We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a scaled-up or scaled-down version,” he said. “It was a coincidence, dimensionally.”

With this information, Gantz contacts the owner of the plaster mold and sets the process in motion. On Nov. 3, Cincinnati parks installed a replica of a stolen 1932 statue, the culmination of a 16-month effort by volunteers, donors and park staff.

Gantz saw the work in progress when he visited Florence in October 2022 and was on hand when the replacement arrived in Cincinnati.

A new sign at Eden Park tells the story of the she-wolf, her theft and her return. Ganz’s involvement is cited as a “local sculptor connection.”

Given the overlapping interests—Italy, sculpture, and Cincinnati—Ganz is happy to have played a role. “It was exciting to be a part of replacing him.”

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