Edmund H. Osthaus (1858-1928)
Pointer with Quail, 1890
signed and dated "Edm. H. Osthaus 1890." lower left
oil on canvas, 27 by 36 in.
Edmund Henry Osthaus was born in Hildesheim, Germany, in 1958, 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, E. von Gebhardt, Ernst Deger, and wildlife and landscape painter Christian Kroner. In 1883, he joined his parents in America and became an instructor at the Toledo Academy of Fine Arts. He served as the director from 1886-1893, refining his painting technique and pursuing his passions: hunting and fishing.
He resigned in 1893 to dedicate 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. A frequent field trial judge, he followed that circuit across the country. He showed his own setters and pointers in both field trials and confirmation shows. His artistic talent combined with his love of dogs enabled him to capture the essence of the working dog while depicting accurate anatomical detail.
Osthaus, along with Percival Rosseau and J.M. Tracy, is considered among the greatest American sporting dog painters. He painted the National Field Trail Association winners for the first three decades of its existence. The DuPont Company reproduced these portraits as calendars and lithographs. Additionally, he was commissioned to paint sporting scenes by industrial magnates, including members of the Vanderbilt family and J.P. Morgan, who admired his large-scale realistic genre.
Pointer with Quail reveals Osthaus at his best. The artist has created a realistic fall landscape; golden grasses and a split-rail fence frame the picture and russet leaves abound. The viewer can almost hear the rustling leaves and smell the crisp autumn air. The fit dog is rendered in masterful detail. His taut body is full of energy as he stands stock still while proudly, but gently holding the quail in his mouth. His bright eyes gaze at his master, who, naturally, is delighted with this retrieve. With its dynamic artistry and recognition by the marketplace, Pointer with Quail is one of America's great dog paintings.
Provenance: George M. Brady, Esq., Detroit, Michigan who commissioned the work in 1890
By descent in the family to Mr. G.M. Brady's great nephew, Woodstock, Vermont
Private Collection, Florida, acquired from Copley Fine Art Auctions, Plymouth, MA, July 23, 2008, lot 42
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