Korder, Walter

Korder, Walter O. R. (1891-1962)

Walter Korder was born in Berlin, Germany in 1891. When he was eighteen months old his parents immigrated to the United States, settling in Hartford, Connecticut. He attended local schools and classes at the Hartford Art Society. He received one of four scholarships awarded in the U.S. to attend the Royal Academy in Munich, Germany. After graduating Korder came back to Hartford and worked with his father “decorating many period rooms in the old Hartford mansions.” (Hartford Courant, March 23, 1962) During World War I he painted portraits of “buddies” in the First Battalion, Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, D.C. 


Korder was known for his portraits and murals. He painted many murals for the predecessor to the WPA Federal Arts Project, the Public Works of Art Project. During the WPA, he was an assistant administrator in the Hartford office. He also supervised the creation of the famous Hartford Nativity Scene composed of larger than life figurines set up first in December 1938, and he oversaw its assembly in Bushnell Park every year thereafter for a couple decades. Korder was a respected art teacher running art classes at various art leagues in the Hartford area. He exhibited his works widely and won prizes. He was a member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, a charter member of the Connecticut League of Art Students, and member of the West Hartford Art League. Korder died in March 1962.


Sources:  WPA Artist’s Work Card; AskART; “Hartford Public Buildings Richly and Lastingly Adorned As Uncle Sam Becomes Nation’s Most Lavish Art Patron,” Hartford Courant, July 1, 1934; Elizabeth W. Wolcott, “Nativity at Bethlehem; A Traditional Biblical Scene is refitted for Bushnell Park,” Hartford Courant, December 12, 1854; “W. O. R. Korder Dies, Portrait Artist, Teacher,” Hartford Courant, March 23, 1962.

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Walter Korder:

Progressive Stages in New England:  
History (13 panels): oil on plaster
Small Indian Panel: oil on plaster
Large Indian Panel: oil on plaster
The Vikings in New England: oil on plaster
Adrian Block: oil on plaster
Natives Welcoming English: oil on plaster
First House at Windsor: oil on plaster
Hooker Coming to Hartford: oil on plaster
John Mason Against the Pequots: oil on plaster
Puritan Family: oil on plaster
In the Stocks: oil on plaster
Hocker’s Fundamental Orders: oil on plaster
Regicides at New Haven: oil on plaster
Charles II Granting Charter: oil on plaster
Hiding Charter: oil on plaster
Portrait of William Hall: oil
Settling America: oil
Still Life: watercolor
Redesigning and Repainting of “Nativity Set”:  
Korder, Walter