BIOGRAPHY - Henry J. Breuer (1860 - 1932)
Henry Joseph Breuer was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1860 and received his earliest training during the 1870s in Buffalo, New York. By the early 1880s he was living in Cincinnati, Ohio and working at the Rookwood Pottery Company and throughout the early and middle years of the 1880s, he continued to travel and study.
By 1888 he was living in San Francisco and worked at the San Francisco Chronicle and Californian Magazine as and art editor. After spending a number of years on the coast, he decided to travel to Paris to continue his artistic studies; spending a great deal of time looking and studying the works of the Barbizon and Impressionist painters.
After returning to the United States he once again set out for the West Coast and spent a number of years traveling up and down the coasts of Oregon and California capturing the beauty of the landscape.
In 1903 he spent two weeks at Mount Shasta which had a great impact on the artist. In an interview he gave to a reporter from the Cincinnati Times Star, Breuer stated that:
For the purpose of the true landscape painter all landscapes are good, only some are better than others, meaning that certain phases of nature suit the individuality of some better than others. So it was to satisfy my choice of subject that sent me afield as early as in April 1903, the year wherein the studies for the larger canvases were made. They are all of California, which affords a wide range for the seeker of the beautiful. Therefore I prepare myself something like this when prospecting for pictures. I wear old serviceable clothes and heavy shoes, I carry a sleeping bag, a food sack, a tin cup, a large pocket knife, a small sketch box, and a thousand mile railway ticket, the outfit weighing twenty-five pounds, but for the first week it feels like sixty.
I board a train to some station somewhere near Mount Shasta, and thus into the woods. I made a one-man camp every night for two weeks. It was cold and sometimes miserable in the thick, wet, cold mist of the mountain side, but the days were grand before that high, white altar, Shasta. I shall feel for all my life that I was a true pilgrim, and for the sake of days like that, I am happy to be what I am, a landscape painter... though very happy in the freedom of all outdoors, I can assure you it is nine-tenths hard work and physical endurance. In my choice of subjects I am unfortunately so fortunate as to choose the grand and big and strong, therefore I have often to travel far and endure much, but the game is worth the effort, and a trophy brought in by my brush is worth more to me than a 'big kill' of mountain sheep or antlered elk.
Among his many supporters was Adolphus Busch and over time, Mr. Busch would proved to be Breuer’s biggest patron; he even organized an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Busch Gardens in 1907.
At the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, Breuer exhibited a number of works and was awarded a Gold Medal.