American

b. 1936, Romania

 

 


 

Jacob Pfeiffer was born in a small village which had been settled by German immigrants two hundred years earlier. He was three years old when World War II began and broke up his family. While his mother worked in the city, he lived with his grandmother and widowed aunt in the country, often drawing the animals around him.

 

At age 12, after Communism had taken over Romania, his mother and he fled to Austria, a five month journey on foot at night while hiding during the day. After three imprisonments for crossing borders illegally, they reunited with his father, who had survived the war as a soldier in Russia.

Changing Times
Changing Times

In Austria, the family lived in an Allied Displaced Persons Camp where his father was the Barber for the American Military. In school, Jacob learned of America's history. He shared a kinship with the early Natives who lost their way of life as he did, and painted their lives with water colors in his art classes.

 

After coming to the U.S. at age 19, Jacob worked at a variety of jobs, while studying and honing his art skills at night. He also switched to oils as his painting medium, and became known in Cincinnati for his depictions of America's Indians as they slowly lost their way of life to European influence.

 

 

Abandoned Dreams
Abandoned Dreams

In 1969, Jacob entered his first competition for artists living in Greater Cincinnati. After winning First Place and the Purchase Award by the city, Jacob turned to art full time. Shortly thereafter, he was approached by Closson's, Cincinnati's premier gallery at that time. His first three solo exhibits sold out on opening day, and he became their exclusive western artist for many years. Galleries in the west soon picked up his work, and 17 Solo shows followed quickly.

Pond Jewels
Pond Jewels

By now Jacob and his wife had two teenage sons. They purchased a former century old dairy farm near Cincinnati, and converted it to growing vegetables, fruit, and feed for their animals. They remodeled the barns for five horses, chickens and other animals, including dog and cat rescues. Two ponds were added, which supplied the family with fresh fish. Though farm work was shared, it often pushed Jacob’s painting into late night, but he recalls it as the best 25 years of his life.

Fond memories of the farm include picnics and hayrides with friends, a paint-out with fellow Cincinnati Art Club members, and training and riding our horses. Back in the city since 2003, Jacob was active in the Cincinnati Art Club's monthly Critique Sessions, a time of sharing and camaraderie.

 

 

Nobody's Perfect
Nobody's Perfect

Over the years, his subject matter has expanded from his favorite, historical narratives, to figures, animals, and still lifes. Depending on subject matter and mood, Jacob varies his technique from photorealism to impressionism, and credits this for his excitement when planning and executing a new piece.


"Using the foundational principles of the old masters gave me the freedom to make each painting stand on its own merit. I avoided becoming a formula painter, repeating the same genre and style."


Rainy Day in Vienna
Rainy Day in Vienna 2012

"I am grateful for my wife and business partner, and for the clients who have travelled the road of experimentation and change with me. Most of all, I thank God for giving me the ability and desire to produce paintings which 'speak' to others, and hopefully, also please Him."


Although unable to paint during most of 2013, relocating home and studio to Las Cruces, NM has been a great blessing. Come visit us in the Southwest!

INFLUENCES IN MY ART JOURNEY
Arthur Helwig, drawing teacher at the Cincinnati Art Academy
Through their workshops: Daniel Gerhartz, Joe Abbrascia, C.W. Mundy
John Michael Carter - Unique style, creative brush work, distinctive use of color
Frederik Grue - Contemporary Master of the Still Life
The Old Masters (Velazquez, Rembrandt and other Dutch Masters)
Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent
Last but not least, the old Western Masters, Remington and Schreyvogel.
I must not forget my debt to the prolific German author Karl May,
whose books I could not put down as a young teen in Austria. I still collect them today.
His stories of the American Indian first ignited my desire to depict their lives on canvas,
and motivated me to research this historical period on my own.