Eugene Speicher


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Painter. Known especially for portraits of women, he also painted landscapes and still lifes. Born in Buffalo, Eugene Edward Speicher studied at the school of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy (now a division of the State University of New York at Buffalo) for four years before moving to New York in 1906. At the Art Students League during the next two years, William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri ranked as his most important teachers. In 1910 he traveled abroad on the first of several trips to visit European museums. An early arrival at Woodstock, he remained associated with that artists' retreat until he died at his home there. He also maintained a New York residence. Speicher's early work showed an interest in Ashcan School directness and vitality, but he soon turned to painting the figure with a solid, volumetric approach derived from traditional European painting. After exposure to the work of Cézanne and other modern artists, he generalized, simplified, and slightly flattened forms to produce dignified renditions of individuals usually lost in dreamy inwardness, as in Lilya (Cincinnati Art Museum, 1930). Nonfigural subjects often show a freer application of paint and looser definition of form. Speicher's blend of modern and traditional elements remained highly respected into the 1940s but fell out of favor when critical attention turned to abstraction.

Subjects: Art.

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