Oil on canvas, 18 x 20 inches/Signed lower left
The son of a Cincinnati, Ohio lithographer, Kaelin began working at a local lithographic firm at age 16. From 1877 to 1878, he studied under Thomas Satterwhite Noble, at the McMicken School of Design (Art Academy of Cincinnati). In 1878 Kaelin studied with John Henry Twachtman, after the latter returned to Cincinnati from European studies. 1879 found him in New York City at the Art Students League studying under James Carroll Beckwith. He was painting only part-time, as he was employed as a lithographer. It was also in 1892 that Kaelin returned to Cincinnati. Back home he was employed as a designer for Strobridge Lithography Company and the F. Tuchfarber Lithography Co. and made sketching forays in southern Ohio and Kentucky. In 1899, the Cincinnati Art Museum organized a solo exhibition of Kaelin’s pastels. The following year, his friend, artist Frank Duveneck, persuaded him to visit Gloucester, Massachusetts on Cape Ann, where he was to summer until 1916, when he made Rockport his permanent home where he concentrated on landscapes and harbor scenes. At the Rockport Art Colony he gave up his lithography work and his early tonalists painting style and became a devotee of divisionism, a Neo-Impressionist style where a hue is represented by the optical effect of placement of dabs of contrasting color that was perceived by the eye as a single color. Although he was known as the "Hermit Painter" because he preferred solitude, Kaelin he was friends with the other artists in the colony. He was a member of the Cincinnati Art Club; North Shore Art Association, Gloucester; and the Rockport Art Association (founder). Kaelin exhibited at the Society of Western Artists, and the Duveneck Society of Painters and Sculptors (Cincinnati); Cincinnati Art Museum (from 1895); Art Institute of Ohio, Cincinnati); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1899-1903, 1926); Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1900); St. Louis Art Museum (1909, solo); Panama Pacific Exhibition of 1915 (San Francisco, 1915, silver medal); Gallery on the Moors (East Gloucester, 1916); Boston Art Club; Albright Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York) and Cincinnati Art Museum (1913, 1920 (solo).