Osthaus, Edmund Henry – American artist

Edmund Henry Osthaus (1858-1928) watercolor on paper painting, The Hunters (circa 1910), signed

p4A ItemID E8886084
Edmund Henry Osthaus watercolor, signed, view of three pointer dogs in a landscape

p4A ItemID F7986770
Edmund Henry Osthaus, A Setter at Attention, signed", watercolor on paper

p4A ItemID F7970561
A graphite on paper drawing by Edmund Henry Osthaus

p4A ItemID F7939070

Edmund Henry Osthaus (American, 1858 to 1928)

Edmund Henry Osthaus, born in Hildesheim, Germany, began his studies at the Royal Academy in Dusseldorf in 1874, where he had the privilege of studying with Andreas Muller, Peter Janse, E.V. Gebhardt, E. Deger and Christian Kroner. By 1882, at the age of 22, Osthaus left the Academy and followed his parents to America in 1883.

He settled in Ohio, where he found work as the head instructor at Toledo’s Academy of Fine Arts, later ascending to director, a position he held from 1886 to 1893. In 1893, Osthaus resigned and pursued his passions – hunting, fishing and painting – full-time. It was the melding of these passions in his paintings of hunting dogs that resulted in the work for which he is best known.

Osthaus knew dogs well, and he actually competed in various field competitions with his own dogs – pointers and setters, of course. He later even judged trials and was active in the National Field Trial Association. Of course, this close contact with dogs when coupled with his classical training led to very detailed canine portraiture in oils and watercolors, as well as in pencil sketches. Osthaus often worked from life, often with championship dogs, capturing dogs at play and at work.

As an avid huntsman, Osthaus developed a rather itinerant lifestyle, following hunting seasons and the weather from Canada down to the Southwest each year, hunting and painting as he traveled. His fellow hunters commissioned his work, and it soon drew the attention of the wealthy sportsmen among the late Victorian industrialists. Through this recognition and through his connections, Osthaus gained wider appeal when his work was picked up the DuPont Company for advertising prints and calendars.

After several decades of success, Osthaus moved to Los Angeles, California, where he built a new studio that remained his base, although he kept homes in Ohio, New Jersey, and Florida and continued to traveled widely. Edmund Osthaus died on January 30, 1928 at his Marianna, Florida home.

Hollie Davis, p4A Senior Editor – June 23, 2009

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