Friday, May 17, 2013
American Women by Jacob Eichholtz 1776-1842
I first became aware of Jacob Eichholtz (1776-1842), when I roamed the halls of the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore during the 1980s. He was born north of Baltimore in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he tried his hand at being a tinsmith, a cooper, & a sign painter. But his passion was for painting portraits. He wrote of his unexpected friendship with Thomas Sully in Lancaster County in 1808, "Chance about this time threw a painter into the town of my residence. This in a moment decided my fate as to the arts. Previous to the arrival of this painter, I had made some rude efforts with tolerable success, having nothing more than a bootjack for a palette, and anything in the shape of a brush, for at that time brushes were not to be had, not even in Philadelphia. At length I was fortunate enough to get a few half-worn brushes from Mr. Sully, being on the eve of his departure for England. This was a great feast to me, and enabled me to go on until others were to be had." In 1811, Eichholtz visited Gilbert Stuart in Boston, & began a lifelong series of exhibitions with the Society of Artists at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Probably before 1820, Eichholtz was painting portraits in Baltimore & beyond, from Pittsburg to Delaware. By 1821, he had set up a studio in Philadelphia; where he painted, until he returned to Lancanster County in 1832, painting portraits until his death 10 years later.