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Rudolf Eickemeyer

Also Known as: Rudolf Eickemeyer, Jr.

Born:
Yonkers, New York 1862

Died:
Yonkers, New York 1932

Active in:

  • New York, New York

Biography

As an avid outdoorsman and amateur photographer, Eickemeyer made good use of weekend travels to focus his camera on the landscapes and domestic scenes of Westchester County, New York, and his native Hoboken, New Jersey. His photographs of local environs combine the sense of discovery of survey photographs and the artistic concerns of Pictorialist composition. During the 1890s Eickemeyer achieved great success, winning many awards and medals in exhibitions. He was the second American (Stieglitz was the first) invited to join the elite London photography group, The Linked Ring. Unlike Stieglitz, who labored to win a place for photgraphy in museums and galleries alongside other fine arts, Eickemeyer endeavored to make it more accessible to a wider audience. He had no qualms about using his art for commercial means, producing advertisements for Kodak's foolproof cameras and opening a studio to take society portraits. Perhaps Eickemeyer's most important contribution to promoting the medium was his development of the first photographic picture books. Printed inexpensively to make them more easily available, they sold for $1.50 to $2.00 per copy.

Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)