Fritz Eichenberg Biography

Fritz Eichenberg




Fritz Eichenberg was born in Cologne, Germany on October 24,1901. He worked as a printer's apprentice and studied at the Municiple School of Applied Arts in Cologne, and at the Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig, where he got his M.F.A. He began his career as a graphic artist and illustrator in 1923, working for various publications and as an independent illustrator.

In 1933 the rise of Nazi Germany forced Eichenberg to emigrate with his wife and family to the U.S, settling in New York City. He taught art at the New School for Social Research and at Pratt Institute, and was a part of the WPA's Federal Arts Project. He also served as the head of the art department at University of Rhode Island, and laid out the printmaking studios there. Eichenberg illustrated myriad books in the U.S. and abroad. He died in Rhode Island in 1990.

Raised in a non-religious family, Eichenberg had been attracted to Taoism as a child. Following his wife's unexpected death in 1937, he turned briefly to the practice of Zen Buddhist meditation, then joined the Religious Society of Friends in 1940. Though he remained a Quaker until his death, Eichenberg was also associated with Catholic charity work through his friendship with Dorothy Day, whom he met at a Quaker conference on religion and publishing in 1949, and frequently contributed illustrations to Day's newspaper the Catholic Worker. Eichenberg was also a long-time contributor to The Nation, his illustrations appearing in that magazine at various times between 1930 and 1980.

Fritz Eichenberg died in Peace Dale, Rhode Island on November 30, 1990 from complications of Parkinson's disease.

Eichenberg exhibited at: AIC; PAFA, 1940-45; NAD, 1938, 1944-46; CI, 1943-45; AIGA, 1938, 1940, 1944; SAGA Ann.; Xylon Int. Exhibs., Geneva, Switzerland, Yugoslavia & elsewhere; U.S. Info Agency Traveling Exhibs.; Assoc. Am. Artists, New York, 1967; Pratt Manhattan Center, New York, 1972 (solo). Awards: LOC, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946; Joseph Pennell Medal, PAFA, 1944; distinguished service medal, Ltd. Edition Club.

He was a member of: SAGA; NAD; Royal Soc. Arts; Xylon Int.; AIGA (board directors, 1943-46); Phila. WCC; Am. Artists Congress. Work: MMA; NYPL; AIC; PMA; LOC; Rosenwald Collection, NGA; Bibliotheque Nat., Paris, France; Hermitage Mus., Leningrad, USSR. Commissions: illustrations of more than one hundred classics, children's books, comnmissioned by publishers in the U.S. & abroad.