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 Leonard Ochtman  (1854 - 1934)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut      Known for: seasonal landscape painter, some genre

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Leonard Ochtman
from Auction House Records.
Snowy Landscape
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Zonnemain, Holland, Leonard Ochtman became a noted Tonalist and Impressionist landscape painter of sunsets, twilight and dawn scenes that conveyed silence and serenity.  His work was highly sought after in the early part of the 20th century when he did many award-winning oils and watercolors, but his reputation was eclipsed by the advent of modernism.

Ochtman was brought to America in 1866 and settled with his parents in Albany, New York. He became an apprentice in engraving, but as a painter was almost entirely self-taught. He drew and painted from nature and from what he saw in galleries. 

He attended the Art Students League in New York City during the winter of 1879, and then established a studio in Albany, New York.  In 1880, he began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design, and in 1883 with the American Water Color Society.  In 1886, he first went to Europe, and spent much time in Holland where he studied atmospheric painting of Hague School painters including Jacob Maris and Anton Mauve.  He painted in France, where he was influenced by the Tonalist work of Corot,

In 1887, he returned to New York City where he opened a studio with Charles Warren Eaton.  Shortly after, he married Nina Fonda, a student, and they settled in Cos Cob, Connecticut on the Mianus River whose changing scenery was often the subject of his landscapes.  He and other painters such as J. Alden Weir, Childe Hassam and John Henry Twachtman founded what became known as the Cos Cob Colony, a center of Impressionist painting.

In the 1890s and early 1900s, Ochtman was at the height of his career, and was described as the "Keats of landscape" (Lowrey) for his poetic studio landscapes, especially winter scenes bathed in light of dawn or dusk.  He once told his daughter that he could paint snowscenes out of his head in the summer time.  In a publication, Palette and Bench, August 1909, he stated that he painted "all my pictures in the studio from memory or notes.  They are arranged, composed; they represent no particular place, but give to the best of my ability the character, color, and atmospheric conditions of the country in which I live . . . after all, we wnat the effect of the day, hour or moment, the mod and not a transcript of the place." (Lowrey)

In the period of his high success, he sold many paintings, earned national awards, and patronage from prominent collectors including William T. Evans and George Hearn.

He joined Birge Harrison at the Woodstock, New York Art Colony, and served as an instructor and there was active in the Arts and Crafts Movement as a participant in the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony.  

Sources include:
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Carol Lowrey, "Leonard Ochtman", The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism, p.156
http://www.museum.cornell.edu/byrdcliffe/


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
NOTE from Dr. Jeffrey Owens, September 2003:

My 1910-11 Who's Who in American Art lists information about Leonard Ochtman, which amplifies or confirms the biography supplied by this site's archives.  According to Who's Who, Leonard Ochtman was the son of John and Hendricka (Fonteine) Ochtman.  He settled in Albany, NY, with his family at the age of 12 (in 1866) and became a draughtsman in an engraving office.

For two years, Leonard had a studio in Albany, but he took a winter course at the Art Students' League in New York.  Whatever the content of his schooling, his specialty in landscapes was entirely self-taught.  In 1885, Leonard traveled in England, France, and Holland, most likely educating himself by touring museums and galleries.

Beginning in 1882, he regularly exhibited at the National Academy, and also at regional art societies, winning many medals and awards.  At the age of 37, in 1891, he married Mina Fonda.  In 1910, his memberships included the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Water Color Society, and the Society of Landscape Painters. His residence in 1910 was Cos Cob, CT, and his studio, 156 Carnegie Hall, New York.

Biography from Newman Galleries:
Leonard Ochtman was an American Impressionist painter.  He was born in Zonnemaire, Netherlands as the son of a decorative painter.  His family moved to Albany, New York in 1866.

Ochtman worked with a group of artists who were important in the development of the impressionist movement in the United States.  In 1882 he began to exhibit landscapes at the National Academy of Design, and he became a National Academician in 1904.  His most characteristic pictures, which recall the work of George Inness, are scenes on Long Island Sound and on the Mianus River.

Ochtman was a member of the Cos Cob Art Colony in Cos Cob, Connecticut.  His wife, Mina Fonda Ochtman (1862-1924), and daughter, Dorothy Ochtman (1892-1971), were also American Impressionists and notable members of the Cos Cob Art Colony in their own right.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Leonard Ochtman is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Old Lyme Colony Painters
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
Tonalism



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