Tuesday 31 January 2012: Herzog At Home
Herman Herzog (1831-1932) was a distinguished landscape artist of the Hudson River School. Born to a Swiss family in Bremen, Germany, he lived in this house, which is about six blocks from my place, from around 1865 until his death.
The biographical sketches I found on line intrigued me slightly, because while no mention is made of a wife, it always mentions his son Lewis, and one mentions that he had a lifetime friendship with artist George Cope (24 years younger), and that they traveled and painted together. Indeed Herzog was Cope's only teacher. Cope seems to be the better-known of the two men today, for his still life and landscape paintings.
So I looked Herman up. His wife Hermina was eleven years his junior, immigrated to the US at around the same time as Herman decided to stay here, which was 1871. They had two sons, Herman Jr. and Lewis.
It was said that because he was a sensible investor, he did not rely on the sale of his paintings for income, and his family sold off many of his works to museum collections in the 1970s.
Herman certainly did what he loved to do. In the last year of his life, he shared an exhibit with his son Lewis, but he did not travel to New York for the opening --he got reports by telephone from the kid. On that occasion, his typical day, at 100 years old, was described in The New York Times three months before his death as follows: He would wake at 5 a.m., and sit down at his easel to paint by six. He would paint till the light failed at 3 or 4 p.m., then work on black & white drawings till dinner time. He retired at 8:30.
Hermina Herzog had passed away some time within the 1920s, and Herman lived here with only a middle-aged housekeeper at the end of his life.
Nice meeting you, Herman!