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Nick Eggenhofer (American, 1897-1985)


Also known as:  Eggenhofer, Nicholas

Birth Place: Gauting (Oberbayern, Bavaria, Germany)

At the end of his long artistic career, Nick Eggenhofer had only to walk a short distance to immerse himself in the history and art of the American West by visiting the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. He had, in fact, moved to Cody in part because the museum was located there. He moved there after a long and productive career as an illustrator and western artist, and his selection of that city brought him full circle on a journey that began in his native Bavaria. It was there that Eggenhofer as a young boy attended Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show on one of its tours of Europe. He was captivated with the pageantry of the show and immediately fell in love with the Old West. It would, however, be many years before he was actually a resident there. He migrated with his family to New Jersey, and he began his illustration career as a teenager. Eggenhofer drew literally thousands of images for the pulp magazines of the day, so named because of the cheap paper on which they were printed.

He was called on to draw pen and ink scenes of the Old West without having ever visited there, but he was an avid student of western history, and he strove to imbue even the sketchiest of drawings with authenticity. After graduating from the pulps to more substantial publications, Eggenhofer finally began earning enough money to travel West and see what he had been painting on a first hand basis.

Long before moving to Cody, Eggenhofer's trademark was absolute historical accuracy. He studied the details of western transportation, such as Conestoga wagons and stagecoaches, and produced paintings that were authentic in every detail. Aided by highly detailed models that he made himself, Eggenhofer gained a well founded reputation for knowing as much about these early western vehicles as any student of the era.

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