Eugene Edward Speicher was one of the foremost figure painters in America during the 1920s and 1930s. After studying at the Art Students League in Buffalo he moved to New York and in 1907 entered the Art Students League, where he studied with WILLIAM M. CHASE and Frank V. DuMond (1865-1951). As a result of his friendship with GEORGE BELLOWS, Speicher also studied with ROBERT HENRI in 1908. Speicher first achieved recognition in the 1910s as a portrait painter, but after a period in Europe devoted to studying the postimpressionists and old masters, he turned to studio pictures, usually representing women seated in comfortable interior settings. In the 1920s he won critical praise for figure paintings such as The Young Hunter, 1921 (Pittsburgh Athletic Association), and Katherine Cornell as Candida, 1926 (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo). His figure paintings reveal a modernist sensitivity to form and abstraction combined with an old master draftsmanship, an understated, but rich palette, and soft brushwork, the last inspired by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). He also created paintings and drawings of the female nude.
In 1907 Speicher helped found the art colony in Woodstock, New York. He spent his summers there, painting landscapes and floral still lifes, while in the winter he worked on figure paintings in his New York studio. He was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1912 and an academician in 1925; he became director of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1945.
New York, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Eugene Speicher Papers (on microfilm, Archiv. Am. Art) § Virgil Barker, "Eugene Speicher: Painter and Artist," Arts 6 (December 1924): 314-28 § Index 20th Cent. Artists 1 (December 1933): 37-42; 1 (September 1934): I; 2 (September 1935): IV; 3 (August-September 1936): VI; reprint, pp. 44-49, 65, 68, 70 § Harry Salpeter, "Big American: Speicher," Esquire 6 (December 1936): 72-73, 195-96, 198, 201-2 § Buffalo, Aibright Art Gallery, Eugene Speicher: A Retrospective Exhibition of Oils and Drawings, 1908-1949, exh. cat., 1950, with essay by Charles E. Burchfield, chronology, list of exhibitions, bibliography, and list of collections compiled by Beatrice Howe.