Eugene Speicher (1883-1962) is widely recognized as one of the most talented American portrait painters of his time. He was born in Buffalo, New York, and studied at the Albright Art School and the Art Students League where he met close friend and mentor, Robert Henri. His relationship with Henri undoubtedly influenced his formative style. Speicher, like most artists of the time, traveled to Europe to study the old masters as well as modern artists Cezanne and Renoir, both of whom he was deeply influenced by. He spent two years in Europe painting and studying and returned to New York a promising young painter. By the 1920s he was a leading portrait artist with many commissions. This allowed him to focus on other subjects such as landscapes and flower still lifes. Speicher’s work is praised for its beauty, rich colors, and technical execution. His work was conservative in style, simple yet expressive, and his portraits elegant. He achieved great success in his lifetime and won many awards. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and in 1945 became director of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1936 Esquire Magazine named Speicher “The most important living painter.” Speicher died in New York City in 1962.
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