|Other: Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr.
Other: Rudolph Eickemeyer
Other: Rudolph Eickemeyer Jr.
|1862, 7 August - 1932, 24 April
|US, NY, Yonkers
|US, NY, Yonkers
He was a member of the Linked Ring Brotherhood.
Approved biography for Rudolf Eickemeyer
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
On August 7, 1862, Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr., was born in Yonkers, New York, where he lived his entire life. He worked as a professional portrait photographer in Manhattan, illustrated numerous books and magazine articles, and was active in camera clubs. Much of his personal landscape work is naturalistic in nature and he was widely regarded among pictorialists.
As a young adult, Eickemeyer worked as a draftsman in the business of his father, a successful inventor of electrical machines. He purchased his first camera in 1884 and five years later helped found the Yonkers Camera Club. By 1894, Eickemeyer was among America’s best-known amateur photographers; in that year he had a solo show at the Photographic Society of Philadelphia and his prints won top honors at both the seventh Joint Exhibition and England’s Royal Photographic Society exhibition. He was further honored by the Linked Ring Brotherhood (London) when he and Alfred Stieglitz were elected the first Americans to this exclusive group of international photographers.
In 1895, Eickemeyer’s father died and Rudolf quit the family business to become a professional photographer. Initially he and James L. Breese operated the Carbon Studio, making portraits. Between 1900 and 1915, he worked variously at the Campbell Art Company and the firm of Davis and Eickemeyer. In 1902, Eickemeyer produced a suggestive image of the starlet Evelyn Nesbit, which was widely circulated a few years later when Nesbit’s husband went on trial for the murder of architect Stanford White, with whom Nesbit allegedly had an affair.
Despite his professional work, Eickemeyer remained active as a creative amateur. In 1900, the Camera Club of New York, of which he was a non-resident member, presented over 150 of his photographs in a one-person exhibition. Many of his images were included as photogravures in the journal Camera Notes, including the frontispiece of its last issue in 1903. The next year, he joined the Salon Club of America, a rival of Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession, and began exhibiting in their annual traveling American Photographic Salons.
Eickemeyer produced many genre and landscape photographs for book and magazine illustration. They were used in popular nature books, but the most significant titles were four large-format volumes issued by the high-end publisher R. H. Russell. These are In and Out of the Nursery (1900), a children’s book with verse by his sister Eva Eickemeyer Rowland; Down South (1900), on southern blacks; The Old Farm (1901), and Winter (1902). The art critic Sadakichi Hartmann was particularly taken with Eickemeyer’s nature pictures, using them frequently for his articles on outdoor subjects in such monthlies as Harper’s and Scribner’s. In their own right, his images graced the pages of the American Annual of Photography almost every year between 1891 and 1927, exposing his work to two generations of creative photographers.
In 1929 and 1930, Eickemeyer donated much of his life’s work with an endowment for it maintenance to what is now the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He died on April 24, 1932, in Yonkers.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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