Karl-May-Illustration von Paul J. Rebstock

Above is a portrait of Kara Ben Nemsi drawn by my uncle. As a kid, back in the 1920s, I remember it hanging on the wall. Then later seeing it stored in the attic. Recently my sister died at the age of 95 and the portrait surfaced again. This time with a broken glass and some mildew spots in the upper right quarter.

We looked closer and found my uncle had signed the portrait, "Jos Rebstock 1894". That seemed a long time ago. We checked on his birth date. Jan 03, 1881. He was only 13 when he drew this beautiful picture. We wondered why, with this ability, haven't we seen any other drawing by him?

I always thought this was a "charcoal rendering". But I see there is some white and pink in the beard and in the rope of the headdress. So I don't know exactly what the drawing medium was.

We always assumed "Kara Ben Nemsi" was just a figment of his imagination. Recently we ran Kara Ben Nemsi on the computer and were really surprised to find the enormity of information available. Unfortunately most was in German. However we got enough information to understand the background of Kara Ben Nemsi and my uncle's attraction to him. But we would like to know where my uncle got the model for his sketch. Is this a picture from one of Karl May's books or just my uncle's interpretation of him? If it's from a book, we would like to find a copy of the book to keep with the picture.

The picture is 13-3/8" x 16". I tried to photograph it with a digital camera but that lost some detail in the shadowed areas. Finally I scanned it in four quarters and "stitched" them together.

By the way, the artist's name is Joseph B. Rebstock. Affectionately known as Uncle Joe or JB. He died July 12, 1960. I'm Paul J. Rebstock, Sr. I'm 81 and trying to put together a Family Tree and some history. I just thought you might be interested in this portrait and its history.

Yours truly,

Paul J. Rebstock

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