Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The World of Jacob Eichholtz

Jacob Eichholtz was a famous portrait painter in the early days of our country. He painted in the Romantic Victorian tradition. He was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to a family of prosperous Pennsylvania Germans who owned well-known tavern called the Bull's Head Tavern on East King Street in Lancaster and he spent most of his professional life in Philadelphia. 

As a child, he loved to draw and his mother let him take lessons from a local sign painter. But Jacob was a coppersmith by trade. In 1805, he opened his own shop in Lancaster, where mended sugar boxes and tinned copper kettles.

Jacob married Catherine Hatz Michael, a young widow with two children. They had four children of their own. 

Jacob hired some men to help in the shop and started painting on tinware. Then he started painting small portraits on wood. He kept the shop, but make painting his primary occupation in 1808, saying although he loved his work as a tinsmith, his love of painting continually haunted him. 

Then Catherine passed away in 1817. In 1818 Jacob married Catherine Trissler and they had nine children.  he turned backto painting and although he was mainly self-taught, he achieved both success and recognition for his work. They moved to Philadelphia, where he was very successful.

He painted over 800 portraits in the course of 35 years. In 1830 moved his giant family back to Lancaster. He died there in 1842. 

His portraits are displayed in museums across America. He has achieved wider recognition in death than in life.

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