The brush of dry sorghum branches against your Filson chaps,the familiar weight of your twelve gauge Ithaca resting on your arm, the rustle of leaves and corn stalks as your dog methodically quarters off and patrols the field ahead, the intake of breath when you notice he has gone on point, the slowed pace as you approach,the explosion of cackle and feather as the bird brakes cover and flies, the report of your gun and your dog's retrieve and bringing the bird to hand,these are the images and memories brought to mind when you look at an Osthaus painting.
Edmund Osthaus was born in Germany in 1858 and studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Dusseldorf. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1883.
As pictured above, Osthaus focused much of his work on bird dogs in the field. He traveled to Field Trials and various shoots to find his inspiration and translated these efforts into considerable sums. The Sportsmen among the Robber Baron clans began to buy his works for their mansions. The Vanderbilts and Morgans, Carnagies and Dukes bought his paintings to decorate their lodges and lobbies and dens.
Eventually, Osthaus became a Charter Member of the National Field Trial Association. This group thrives today and is very active all over the Country. They organize field competitons where Upland Game and Waterfowl dogs compete in various pursuits for medals and ribbons. Some hunters I know use these events for training and to learn better training techniques while others get caught up in the cliques and competitiveness of the contests. Lucky for us, Osthaus mainly wanted to paint.
Gentleman James over at Man of the 50's numbers Osthaus as one of his particular favorites. I am fond of Osthaus as well and have one of his reproductions framed in my office. If you have ever taken to the field with dogs and guns, these works stir your soul. You can almost hear the dogs yelping and smell the damp canvas, leather and cordite.