Edmund H. Osthaus (1858-1928) Three Setters, c. 1900 signed "Edmund Osthaus" lower right watercolor and gouache, 20 by 39 in.
The original owner of this painting of three setters lived on an estate on the Maumee River inthe Toledo area. He was a prominent lawyer in Toledo and a friend of the artist. According to the family, Edmund Osthaus and the lawyer often smoked cigars together in their library, and the painting was a gift to the family.
Osthaus was an instructor at the Toledo Academy of Fine Arts. He then served as the director from Osthaus was an instructor at the Toledo Academy of Fine Arts. He then served as the director from1886-1893, before resigning to devote “his life to painting, shooting, and following field trials. He gunned for prairie chickens, ruffed grouse, snipe, woodcock, and pheasants, but bobwhites were his favorites,” report Kay and George Evans.
“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,” the Evans continue.
“Thousands of shooting men have formed their tastes in dogs from Osthaus paintings….they know his setters and pointers as real dogs pointing and retrieving real birds. One man called them ‘healthy wet-nosed dogs that hunt, wag, sympathize, and love.’” According to Evans, Edmund Osthaus’ paintings exhibit “the character of the early Llewellin and English setters in this country, their beauty and integrity as bird dogs, and what they meant to those of us who care. Each Osthaus portrait of a gun dog went beyond even that, capturing the individual dog and making him exist after he is gone. Like the memory of a special dog many of us keep alive, [he] staunchly holds his birds as Edmund Osthaus caught that high spirit burning one late quail-shooting afternoon in the early 1900s. That, as any shooting man will tell you, is art.”
Provenance: Private Collection, Toledo, Ohio (gift of the artist, c. 1900) By descent to the present owner
Literature: Kay and George Evans, “Dogs that Live Forever,” Field & Stream, Vol. LXXV, No. 2, June 1970, pp. 234-240.
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