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About This Artwork
Mr. Benjamin Schaum, 1808/10
Oil on panel
21 x 16.8 cm (8 1/4 x 6 5/8 in.)
Gift of the Estate of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1980.742
Working as a coppersmith in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jacob Eichholtz aspired to be a portraitist, eventually giving up his metalwork business to focus on painting by 1811. Despite having essentially no formal training in the medium, Eichholtz progressed quickly, becoming one of the leading portrait painters in Philadelphia and nearby areas. These portraits of the family of Benjamin Schaum, a fellow resident and coppersmith in Lancaster, are examples of the artist’s early style. Eichholtz first mastered small, profile portraits like these, typically executed on wooden panels. Later he developed a more sophisticated handling of the figure, rendering larger-scale compositions on canvas of his sitters in three-quarter views.
Art Institute of Chicago, Junior Museum, "Of Little Importance: The Thorne Rooms and other Great Miniatures," August 24, 1985-1987.