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 Oscar P. Jaeger  (1887 - 1958)

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Lived/Active: Iowa      Known for: western landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Oscar R. Jaeger (1887-1958) -- student

Born as one of six sons to a successful, Dubuque entrepreneur, Oscar R. Jaeger would spend most of his life in eastern Iowa, living on the very same street where he was raised as a child. His father, Francis Jaeger, pursued and founded several, profitable ventures, including a wholesale grocery, the Dubuque Woodenware and Lumber Company, and the Dubuque High Bridge Company. Jaeger and his siblings would find roles in family businesses, and in Oscar's case, identify themselves through commercial efforts, even as their talents might lie elsewhere.

Jaeger briefly attended college in Washington, D.C., returned to Dubuque, and soon joined another of his father's ventures, the Jaeger-Kunnert Company, a wholesale grocery. In 1917, he served as the company's secretary-treasurer, and later city directories note his role as bookkeeper. By 1927, Jaeger retired from the business due to health concerns. That same year, he extensively traveled along the Colorado River and later recorded his journey in the self-published book, The Great Grand Canyon Adventure: A Narrative of Rapid-Shooting on the Colorado, the World's Wildest River (1932). The expedition's designated photographer was forced to change plans, affording Jaeger the opportunity to record the team's launch at Lees Ferry, Arizona and its exploits all the way to Needles, Arizona. The thirty-day journey by rapids, as seen in the book, is accompanied by Jaeger's original, line drawings.

In the midst of extensive travel and his interests in art and music, Jaeger began his own business venture, founding the Home Supply Company (Dubuque, IA), another wholesale outlet offering furnishings, and according to some historical accounts, wholesale liquor. He attended both sessions of the Stone City Art Colony (1932-1933) and had several showings at the Iowa State Fair's Art Salon.

In 1931, Jaeger exhibited Iowa Landscape, Courtyard in Taos, New Mexico, The Temple, and Grand Canyon. 1935 showings at the Art Salon included The American Scene in Iowa and Old Times. Known mainly for his painting, Jaeger was a patron member of the Dubuque Art Association and later authored a second book, Knowing Dr. Bell: A Visit with Alexander Graham Bell, under the auspices of the Dubuque Historical Society (1937).

He remained active in various business opportunities, served in the U.S. Army during World War I, and was a charter member of the city's American Legion post. Evidence suggests that Jaeger returned to the Grand Canyon area on numerous occasions and was a character actor in a 1940s-era film about the site.

Oscar Jaeger remained in Dubuque, where he died in October 1958.

The Stone City Art Colony and School 1932-1933: Oscar P. Jaeger;

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