Nick Eggenhofer1897 - 1985
Born: 1897, Gauting, Bavaria, Germany
Died: 1985, Cody, Wyoming
As a child in Europe, Nick Eggenhofer was fascinated with the American West, cowboys, and Indians. His family moved from the small town of Gauting to Munich after a fire destroyed their mill, giving him greater access to more publications and silent Western films. In 1913, he came to the United States to live with his uncle, and his family shortly followed. Eggenhofer worked various jobs in New York and New Jersey until he started night classes in drawing at Cooper Union and an apprenticeship at the American Lithographic Company.
After four years of artistic training at Cooper Union, Eggenhofer submitted three watercolors to Street and Smith, which the company bought for twenty-five dollars each. This first sale began his prolific career in illustration for the pulp magazines, adventure publications with pictures named for the low quality of paper on which they were printed. He completed thousands of covers and drawings for Western Story, the Street and Smith western pulp magazine, and illustrated over fifty books.
Although he had been illustrating western scenes for several years, Eggenhofer did not experience the West in person until 1925 when he and his wife drove their model-T to Santa Fe and back. The artist wrote in his autobiography, "The very fact that we made that long-dreamed-of journey 'Out West' made a world of difference. Back at the drawing board, my work took on a new perspective; a new dimension, a new point of view." He made several more trips West from his home in West Milford, New Jersey, before permanently moving to Cody, Wyoming, in 1961.
Eggenhofer completed extensive research on all aspects of Western life and compiled much of his expertise into Wagons, Mules and Men (1964), which he wrote and illustrated. He was considered an authority on transportation of the Western movement and created numerous models of different wagons and stagecoaches. After relocating to Wyoming, Eggenhofer experienced a sense of freedom from the commercial demands of his illustration work and began to focus on oil painting. According to the artist, the nature of his work "Changed dramatically and became wider in scope, more imaginative." Until his death in 1985, he enjoyed his growing success as a fine artist.
(Quote source: Eggenhofer, Nick. Horses, Horses, Always Horses: The Life and Art of Nick Eggenhofer. Cody, Wyoming: Sage Publishing, 1981, 98 and 152.)