Edmund H. Osthaus (1858-1928)
On Point, Up Hill
signed "Edmund Osthaus" lower right
oil on canvas, 24 by 36 in.
Edmund Henry Osthaus was born in Hildesheim, Germany, in 1858, the son of a prosperous farmer who subsequently emigrated to Toledo, Ohio. Osthaus studied at the Royal Academy of the Arts in Dusseldorf from 1874 to 1882 with Andreas Muller, Peter Jansen, Eduard von Gebhardt, Ernst Deger, and wildlife and landscape painter Christian Kroner. In 1883, after studying painting for six years, Edmund Osthaus became an instructor at the Toledo Academy of Fine Arts. He served as the director from 1886 to 1893, refining his painting technique and pursuing his passions: hunting and fishing.
In 1893 Osthaus dedicated his full attention to painting, shooting, and field trials. He was a charter member of the National Field Trial Association established in Newton, North Carolina, in 1895. “Edmund Osthaus followed field trials from the fall prairie chicken trials in Canada to the important quail trials in the South in mid-winter, judging, sketching, and sometimes entering his dogs. He was a handsome, powerfully built man," and his artistic talent combined with his love of dogs enabled him to capture the essence of the focused working dog while depicting them in precise anatomical detail.
"Any painter who paints for shooting men had better be a shooting man himself, for no one is more jealously critical of detail than the man who knows guns and dogs and game...Edmund Osthaus, who trained and shot over his own setters and pointers, transformed oil paint into dog flesh quivering under the stress of a point."
This painting, depicting three hunting dogs who have found their quarry, is among Osthaus' finest work. The exquisite detail in the faces of the dogs and the quality of the balanced, painterly landscape in the background yields two paintings in one: a landscape and a stunning sporting dog painting, with all the hallmarks of Edmund Osthaus at his best.
Provenance: Collection of Jim and Diane Cook
Literature: Kay and George Evans, "Dogs that Live Forever," Field & Stream, Vol. LXXV, No. 2, June 1970, pp. 234-240.
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