Jacob Eichholtz


was a portrait painter of German ancestry from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He showed an interest in drawing from the age of seven, and was given rudimentary drawinglessons from a sign painter. His father arranged for him to serve an apprenticeship as a copper and tinsmith. He practiced these trades to support his family, while also painting portraits, until the age of thirty-five, when he began to paint full-time. More than nine hundred works have been attributed to Eichholtz.Best known for his portraits, Eichholtz also painted a sign for the William Pitt Tavern, and painted the Lancaster Union Hose Company’s carriage. The artist movedto Philadelphia about 1821, and later moved back to Lancaster. He also worked in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Eichholtz painted portraits of his relatives and friends, aswell as of wealthy patrons such as Nicholas Biddle, president of the United States Bank. Contemporary writer William Dunlap wrote that Eichholtz’s portraits, “hardlikenesses at thirty dollars a head,” were more sought after than those painted by Rembrant Peale or Thomas Sully. However, he is generally regarded as a second- or third-tier painter of academic portrait.Though he painted details, his portraits were not excessively decorative in their style, and reflected academic traditions that Eichholtz observed in the works of European-trained painters, such as the modeling of facial features; the standardized half-turned poses of his sitters, with their sloping shoulders and slightly tilted heads;and details such as a finger placed to mark the page of a book; columns used as room furnishings; or a glimpse of a landscape in the background.
See also

Painting, American Folk; Trade Signs
Beal, Rebecca J.
Jacob Eichholtz.
Philadelphia, 1969Dunlap, William.
History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States.
Boston, 1965.Groce, George C., and David H.Wallace.
The New-York Historical Society’s History of Artists in America, 1564–1860.
New Haven, Conn., 1957.Harris, Alex.
A Biographical History of Lancaster County.
Lancaster, Pa., 1872.Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Jacob Eichholtz 1776–1842, Pennsylvania Painter: A Retrospective Exhibition.
Philadelphia, 1969