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 George Calder Eichbaum  (1837 - 1919)

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Lived/Active: Missouri/Pennsylvania      Known for: realistic portrait painting

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Ad Code: 4
George Calder Eichbaum
An example of work by George Calder Eichbaum
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
George Calder Eichbaum (1837-1919) was one of the most popular portrait artists in Missouri in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A contemporary wrote, "In beauty of coloring and truthfulness of likeness his portraits rank among the best painted by Western artists." Yet memory of him hides in the shadows of his extraordinary teacher, George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879). Fine works attributed to Bingham sometimes are the work of the younger man.
Bingham's patron, James Sidney Rollins (1812-1881) also supported Eichbaum. Eichbaum painted portraits of his wife, Mrs. James Sidney Rollins (Mary Elizabeth Rollins), his son, Frank Blair Rollins. Eichbaum's copy of Bingham's Major Richard Gentry, 1837, hangs in the Gentry County, Missouri courthouse.
But Eichbaum cultivated a less craftsman-like style. His subjects lean back slightly, often with tilted head. The face often appears rectilinear. Shadows between lids and brows of wide open eyes give many sitters a riveting stare. When Eichbaum unleashed his romantic flair, his work was at its best. Mrs. Josephine Bouvier as Lady Gay Spanker, 1878, at the Saint Louis Art Museum epitomizes his personal style. In the three-quarter portrait, Bouvier, an actress, stands sideways with the riding crop of her character from a popular theatrical comedy, London Assurance, held casually over her shoulder, her head turned toward the viewer with a steady gaze and enigmatic smile.
The same year, 1878, Eichbaum exhibited a now lost artwork, The Defeated Candidate at the National Academy of Design where it "received a most flattering notice in the Art Journal as a piece of undoubted merit" and fetched "a handsome figure."  He continued on to the Paris Exposition and then devoted "some months abroad among the galleries of the Old World." On his return, his style was still further refined as can be seen in his 1901 portrait, William Christy Bryan, Jr.
Eichbaum was the son of a civil engineer and from his birth in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on May 12, 1837, followed in his father's footsteps, personally and professionally, to Ohio and Pennsylvania, until in Pittsburgh, he chose to pursue an artistic career. After studying with David R. Smith, he re-joined his family in Missouri. In St. Louis in the early 1850s, he probably worked with George Caleb Bingham. Eichbaum never claimed the association, but similarities in his early work are unmistakable. By 1859, Eichbaum had set up his own studio in St Louis. He never married and often lived with his widowed mother and maiden sisters. He died April 18, 1919, and is buried in family plot at Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Owners of artwork by George Calder Eichbaum include the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, Missouri; the State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri; Montana Historical Society, the R. W. Norton Art Foundation, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the United States Military Academy.
Written and submitted by Patricia Moss, Fine Art Investigations, with additional research by Cara Waken

Alden, Henry Mills, Harper's New Monthly Magazine, (Harper and Bros., 1884), Volume 68, 517.
Bowker, R. R., American Art Directory (American Federation of Arts, 1914), 478.
Conard, Howard Louis, Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, a compendium of history and biography for ready reference (Volume 2) (New York, Louisville, St. Louis: The Southern History Company, Haldeman, Conard & Co., Proprietors, 1901), 357
Dacus, Joseph A. and James William Buel, A Tour of St. Louis, or, The inside life of a great city, (St. Louis, Missouri: Western Publishing Company, 1878), 71-75.
Eichbaum Family Papers from the collection of William Anderson, great-grandnephew of the artist
Missouri State Archives, "George Calder Eichbaum," Death Certificate 1919_00016254
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Inventories Catalogue, Eichbaum, G. C., 1837-1919, painter.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Inventories Catalogue, Eichbaum, George Calder, 1837-1919, painter. (attributed to).
United States Census Bureau, Seventh Census of the United States, Household of George R. Eichbaum, July 28, 1850, Wellsville, Columbiana, Ohio; Roll: M432_669; Page: 161B;  326, lines 3-12.
United States Census Bureau, Tenth Census of the United States, Household of George C. Eichbaum, June 11, 1880, Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 736; Page: 470D; Enumeration District: 437;  lines 43-46.
United States Census Bureau, Twelfth Census of the United States, Household of George C. Eichbaum, June 11, 1900, St Louis Ward 24, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 899; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0365, lines 36-39.
United States Census Bureau, Thirteenth Census of the United States, Household of George C. Eichbaum, July 28, 1850, St Louis Ward 13, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_817; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0215, lines 52-54.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
George Calder Eichbaum was born May 12, 1837 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. His father, George R. Eichbaum, a prominent civil engineer, was born in 1803 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was for a long time in the service of the U. S. Government and was in charge of improvements for the Osage River when he died in 1873.  The maiden name of the mother of George C. Eichbaum was Helena Calder, born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1816 and died in St. Louis in 1893.

As a youth, George C. Eichbaum attended the schools of Pennsylvania and Ohio. As a young man, he started a career of civil engineering in Western Pennsylvania but soon a love of art became foremost and he abandoned civil engineering to pursue his new interest. He received instruction under David R. Smith of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in 1859, opened a studio in the Switzer Building at the corner of Sixth and Pine Streets in St. Louis.

Most of his works were in portraiture with some occasional figure painting. He was noted for a beauty in coloring and a truthfulness to likeness in his portraits. During the Civil war, he served in the Union Army as a Sargent in the Missouri N.G. Infantry.

He exhibited at various times in the National Academy of Design in New York City. For some years he worked from the Sherwood Studio Building at Sixth Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street in New York.  He attended the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1878 and spent some time in visiting the art centers of the old world.

In the census of 1900, he is listed as residing at 5104 Shaw Avenue in St. Louis, along with his sisters Helen M. and Lizzie L. There is also a niece, Mary E. who is staying with them to attend art school in St. Louis.

The 1904 City Directory lists George C. and Lizzie L as portrait artists whose studio was on the seventh floor at 816 Olive Street in the Frisco Building. George C. Eichbaum appears in the catalog for the 1904 Saint Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

He died at the Deacon's Hospital on April 18, 1919 of arteriosclerosis. He was buried in the Eichbaum family plot in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in Saint Louis.

Submitted by William A. Anderson, Great grand-nephew of George C. Eichbaum and Lizzie L. Eichbaum. His mother, Georgie R. [Eichbaum] Anderson, was the grand daughter of William F. Eichbaum, who was one of the siblings of George and Lizzie.

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