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 Joseph R. Eger  (1919 - 2012)

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: Impressionist landscape, cityscape, portrait, seascape and coastal view painting

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Biography from Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.:
Joseph R. Eger (American, 1919-2012) noted Western New York artist, painter, miniaturist and teacher is primarily known for his Impressionist landscape and cityscape paintings in oils and watercolors with some of them being miniatures. His subjects were church views, portraits, seascapes and coastal views.

Eger was born August 29, 1919 in Buffalo, NY, to father Joseph A. (c1888-) and Mary J. Eger (c1890-) and two brothers; the late Albert L. Eger (1921-1987) and Wilbert D. Eger (1925-). The family resided on Buffalo’s East Side, and Joseph began drawing as a child and later attended art classes at the Buffalo Museum of Science. He continued to refine his skills at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute College-Preparatory High School and upon graduation in 1938, he immediately began art studies for two years at the Art Institute of Buffalo from 1938-40 under the drawing instructor and acclaimed artist Edwin Walter Dickenson (American, 1891-1978), and painting studies under William ‘Bill’ Bentley Rowe (American, 1910-1955).

At that same time period, the well known Buffalo artist Charles E. Burchfield (American, 1893-1967) was known to critique Eger’s work. From 1946-50, Joseph studied privately with Richard G. Sigafoos (American, 20th Century-) and from 1952-54 with Laszlo Szabo (Hungarian-American, 1895-), both of Buffalo, and from 1956-58 with Hartman (Canadian, 20th Century-), Quebec, Canada and in addition with Jay Hall Connaway (American, 1893-1970) from 1959-60.

Through the 1950’s, Eger spent the summers in Provincetown, Cape Cod where he produced a large body of his work. He was good friends with fellow artists Richard G. Sigafoos (American, 20th Century-), William Wild (German-American, 1875-1966) and Richard F. Kersting (American, 1937-), who all influenced his work. In 2003, Eger was a charter member of the short-lived Miniature Art Society of Western New York. Artists John Yerger (American, 1935-) and Richard Kersting formed the Society in 2003 upon realization that a miniaturist art group did not exist in Western New York or even New York State. The Society was limited to ten invited members who followed the standards of contemporary miniaturism shared by a small number of organizations in the U.S. and abroad. The Society included eight charter members: Joe Eger, Bernadette Franklin, Jose Fuentes, Richard Kersting, Robert Masak, Coni Minneci, Vicki Vitale, and John Yerger.

Joseph married the late Eleanor G. (née Gesel, 1922-2003) in 1952, and they had four daughters; Ann E. (Joseph) Thuman, Mary P. (James) Konrad, Ruth A. Eger and Monica M. (Joseph) Hens.  Joseph and his wife resided in Tonawanda, NY, and he was a longtime agent for New England Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Williamsville, NY, retiring from the agency in the early 1980’s. His wife Eleanor was a graduate from St. Mary's High School in Lancaster and, before marriage, worked as a secretary for the American Steamship Co. and for Children's Hospital. Joseph and Eleanor were married for 51 years at the time of her passing in 2003 and Joseph passed away December 14, 2012 at the age of 93, Tonawanda, NY.

His works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums throughout the region, and he was a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, The Art Institute of Buffalo, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, and was later a Charter Member of The Miniature Art Society of Western New York.

Chronology:

1919- August 29, born, to father Joseph A. and Mary Eger, and he had two brothers Wilbert D. Eger and the late Albert L. Eger, Buffalo, NY.

1921- September 15, his brother Albert L. Eger was born, Buffalo, NY.

1925- Unknown month & day, his brother Wilbert D. Eger was born, Buffalo, NY.

1950- Exhibited, groups show, Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY.

1951-53- Exhibited, group shows, Annual Western New York Exhibitions, Albright Knox-Art gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1952- Joseph married Eleanor Gesel, Buffalo, NY.

1987- October 24, his brother Albert L. died, Buffalo, NY.

1996- Exhibited, group show, Fineline Gallery Art & Antiques, Buffalo, NY.

2003- October 12, his wife Eleanor died at the age of 81 at Sisters Hospital after a long illness, Buffalo, NY, and she is buried in mount Calvary Cemetery, Cheektowaga, NY.

2004- April-May, exhibited, group show, “Premier Exhibition”, Miniature Art Society of Western New York, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.

2006- July 14, exhibited, group show, “An Alternative Course: The Art Institute of Buffalo (1931-1956)”, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

2011- October 14, exhibited, group show, “Buffalo in Art”, Will Faller Art & Antiques, East Aurora, NY.

2011-2012- Sept.-Feb., exhibited, group show, “Rapt in Beauty”, Margaret L. Wendt Gallery, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

2012- December 14, Joseph died at the age of 93, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Tonawanda, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated that following Thursday at St. Timothy's Church, 565 East Park Drive, Tonawanda, NY.

Exhibited Also At: Art Institute of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; The Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Early Allentown Art Festivals, Buffalo, NY; Daemen College, Buffalo, NY.

Memberships: Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY; The Art Institute of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Buffalo, NY; Charter Member of The Miniature Art Society of Western New York, Buffalo, NY.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com, 03/2013, from the following Sources:

Supplied biographical information by Will Faller Art & Antiques, East Aurora, NY

Our internal records; buffalostate.edu, “An Alternative Course: The Art Institute of Buffalo (1931-1956) Opens on July 14 at the Burchfield-Penney”, Wednesday, July 05, 2006

sjci.com; burchfieldpenney.org, exhibitions

Wikipedia; The Buffalo News, Obituaries, “Joseph R. Eger, 93, retired insurance agent, artist”, December 19, 2012

amigonefuneralhome.com, obituary

highbeam.com, obituary listing

familysearch.org, United States Census for 1920, digital folder 4313435, sheet No. 16, and United States Census for 1940, Digital folder 005459469, Sheet No. 3A, Enumeration 64-383, Nara T627, Nara roll 2835, and Digital folder 005459469, Enumeration 64-383, Sheet No. 3A, Nara T627, Nara Roll 2835, and Digital folder 005459469, Enumeration 64-383, Sheet No. 3A, Nara T627, Nara Roll 2835, and the Social Security Death Index;

findagrave.com, “Eleanor G. Gesel Eger”, created by Beverly Ball, record added February 27, 2011, Memorial #66220553

highbeam.com, Obituary, “Eleanor G. Eger”, October 14, 2003

buffalospree.com, “Archives: March 2006

Art Collecting Home is Where the Art is: Collecting locally”, by Jana Eisenberg

buffalospree.com, “Random Rants

People will Talk: Will Faller”, by Jana Eisenberg, October 10, 2011.


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