The following information from an article for the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery was submitted in April of 2006 by Chris Carr:
George Michael Haushalter (1862-1943) was born in Portland, Maine, but spent much of his early life in Europe. He studied at the Académie Julian and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as well as in Madrid, Munich and Florence.
It was in Italy where he was studying frescos and tempera paint that he met J. Sherlock Andrews of Rochester. Haushalter was deeply influenced by the Old Masters and church art, and had begun painting religious themes. Andrews saw Haushalter's work, was impressed by it, and commissioned the artist to paint a memorial to his mother in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Averill Avenue in
Once in Rochester, Haushalter designed windows and altar decorations not only for Andrews, but for other influential Rochesterians as well. He married Clara Wilder, the descendant of A. Carter Wilder, Rochester's first mayor, and moved to West Avenue.
He joined the Rochester Art Club and became a member of the American Watercolor Society. He continued to produce religious art for local churches and to sell his works to Rochester art patrons. In 1939 an exhibition of his early paintings was installed at the Brodhead Gallery in Rochester. Portraits, landscapes, and scenes of the marine coast, where he spent his summers, were included.
Though there is no record of Haushalter children, the artist's interest in the young is evident in that he taught art classes to children at Iola, the county tuberculosis sanitorium, for more than ten years. Here he gave instructions in drawing and painting, often donating the art materials.
Haushalter died at the age of 81 in Sodus Point. After his death, the Rochester Historical Society mounted a memorial exhibition of his work.
Strangely enough, Haushalter is known in Rochester as much for reviving the custom of burning Christmas trees on Twelfth Night as for his art. The headline "Death Claims Artist, Father of Trees Rite," headlined his obituary in the Times Union, August 9, 1943. The article notes that he introduced the community burning of Christmas greens at Cobbs Hill Park in 1932, and it became one of Rochester’s "picturesque winter ceremonies."
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (still on Averill Avenue but now called Calvary St. Andrew’s Parish) is rich in examples of his legacy: a triptych of the Virgin of the
Thornblossoms commissioned by Sherlock Andrews; a large mural of the Visit of the Magi, given by Mrs. James Sibley Watson in memory of her mother Mrs. Hiram Sibley; a mural depicting the Adoration of the Shepherds. The memorial window in St. James Episcopal Church was also done by Haushalter, as was a window in the Asbury Methodist Church.
Sources include: Newspapers including Democrat and Chronicle, December 22, 1929;
Times Union, August 9, 1943; Times Union, November 19, 1943.