George Oberteuffer was born on October 31st, 1878 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Princeton University and graduated in 1900. After graduation Oberteuffer enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts along with fellow artists Thomas Anschutz and William Merritt Chase. In 1901 the artist traveled to France where he remained until 1920 to study, paint, and teach art. In 1905 while attending the Académie Julian in Paris, Oberteuffer met his future wife Henriette Amiard. The two often exhibited their works together, and it seemed as though their relationship contributed to the success of their mutual careers. While in Paris, Oberteuffer became a member of the Sociétaire du Salon d'Automne as well as the Salon des Indépendents. He also is known to have taught at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière from 1919 until 1920. Oberteuffer and his wife returned to the United States in 1922, and he began a brief tenure as an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He then went on to teach at the Minneapolis Museum School of Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Grand Central School of Art in New York. In 1939 Oberteuffer became a member of the National Academy of Design. In 1940 while George and Henriette Oberteuffer were living in Boston, The Vose Gallery held an Oberteuffer family exhibition that included the work of their son Karl. This exhibition would be the last one for George Oberteuffer. Sadly a short time afterwards while working on a large mural commission for the W.P.A. along with his wife, George Oberteuffer contracted pneumonia and died.
George Oberteuffer's best and most sought-after works are those he painted during his nineteen-year stay in France from 1901-1920. Best known for his sketchy landscape views and inspired by the Luxembourg Gardens and the architecture of northern France, Oberteuffer developed a fresh and vigorous style, using a subdued color palette with agile brushstrokes that was influenced by French Impressionism. Spring Landscape from 1910 is a perfect example of this style and shows Oberteuffer's mastery of subtle color. Obertueffer loved nature with all her different seasons and "moods" and was known to paint exclusively out-of-doors in the country especially in the early springtime. Understandably then this painting is a spring scene where Oberteuffer has captured the contrasts between the bare trees bereft of leaves and the grass that is just beginning to return to its vibrant green hue. First and foremost a colorist and painting "en plein air" Oberteuffer has painted the landscape in a spontaneous moment. The silvery white of the pond in the lower right of the canvas stands out beautifully when compared to the emerging lushness of the landscape. Portraits and figural studies were not a usual part of Oberteuffer's repertoire. The lack of any trace of humanity in our example serves to underscore the stillness and the slow awakening of the countryside from the ground's winter slumber as well as the feeling that this work is of a singular moment in time in the French spring countryside. Abstractly painted in a "John Henry Twachtman-esque" style of painting, this painting is a first rate, very sophisticated work.
Collection of Vicki Lesser