Eckardt, Otto E - Slade family miniature portraits

Parts of this group of miniature portraits were offered on Ebay, with some retained by the vendor and others sold to different buyers. Three were acquired for this collection, but the full group is shown here for the benefit of researchers and in an effort to identify some of the sitters. The research process may also be interesting to visitors.

The three acquired are the one at top left and the central pair at the bottom. The vendor also kindly enclosed several labels which identified some of the sitters. The vendor in Winnebago, Minnesota, United States had acquired the full group as a single unit and described them as; "James J Hill RAILROAD TYCOON, SUPREME COURT JUDGE STRONG Family Relation photos in EXCELLENT CONDITION, 113 yrs OLD", and also:


Although the vendor listed the identities in good faith, analysis of the labels suggests that some items may have been miss-identified, with the relationship with the Hill family unexplored beyond the vendor's comment. The pair acquired for this collection have been removed from their frames and photographed separately. They are both signed by Otto E Eckardt of Dresden, the one of a young man also being signed and dated 1901 on the reverse. Otto Eckardt was one of a family of miniature painters who appear to have been sent photographs from America, from which he painted miniature portraits. As can be seen below he also added colour to the reverse. Although, superficially, they may look like those miniatures painted in America on ivory over a faint photographic base, there is no sign of that technique here and they are believed to be traditional miniature portraits on ivory.  There are a number of similar Eckardt miniature portraits of other sitters in this collection.
In seeking to identify the sitters, the young man is the best place to start. It seems fairly certain he is identified by the label "Arthur Jarvis Slade only brother of George Theron Slade". Although the references at Rootsweb have not been double-checked, that website does record Arthur Jarvis Slade, born 1 October 1872 in New York, and also his brother. A birth date of 1872 would make him 29 in 1901 which seems to fit. Arthur died in Naples Italy on 30 March 1932. He appears to have qualified as an engineer and his parents are recorded on Rootsweb as George P Slade and Cornelia Wheeler Strong born 29 April 1844. I 1900 Arthur married Jessica Hildreth Halsey who was born in 1877, thus it is likely his portrait was painted at the time of his wedding, probably as a pair with a portrait of his first wife which then retained by her on their divorce. The woman here is too young to be her and thus is more likely his mother, Cornelia Wheeler Strong Slade. There is more about the family at

An extensive obituary of Arthur has been located which shows he was divorced in 1920 and then, in Paris, was remarried in 1929 to Yvonne Truchot Tegou, but appears to have had no children.

The pair at the top of the group photo are clearly by the same artist and painted at the same time. The miniatures were retained by the vendor but by deduction, are believed to be the father of Arthur, George P Slade and the mother of Cornelia Wheeler Strong Slade, a Cornelia Wheeler Barnes born 15 February 1816. Their birth dates would appear to match the ages in the miniatures.

The identification of George Patten Slade is reinforced by a photograph of him in a book Oakdale by Diane Holliday, Chris Kretz published in 2010. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy should refer to Arcadia Publishing At the time, 1902, George P Slade was President of the South Side Sportsmen's Club. See also South Side Sportsmen's Club - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Identification of Judge Strong, State Supreme Court, as referred to in one label is less easy, but it seems likely to be the miniature at top right of the large group photo.  The Emma Barnes Slade/Strong referred to in another label is less obvious. She was the great-grandmother of Arthur and may be the lady at the bottom right, with the man at bottom left being her husband. However, as those two portraits appear to be French from c1815-1825, they may well be ancestors of Arthur Slade's French, second, wife, Yvonne Truchot Tegou, which could also explain the origin of the two miniatures in the middle which appear to be French decorative miniature portraits. The man at top left is identified on the rear as either "Rev Mr Roush" or "Rev Wm Roush". His miniature portrait was acquired for this collection and can be found in the American 3 Gallery. 1486a, 1486b, 1485.


Wiltschek and unknown, portraits of Lillian Russell

These two miniatures were acquired together and are both believed to be portraits of the American actress Lillian Russell (1861-1922).

She became one of the most famous actresses and singers of the late 19th century and early 20th century, known for her beauty and style, as well as for her voice and stage presence.

Russell was born in Iowa but raised in Chicago. Her parents separated when she was eighteen, and she moved to New York with her mother. She quickly began to perform professionally, singing for Tony Pastor and playing roles in comic opera, including Gilbert and Sullivan works. She married composer Edward Solomon in 1884 and created roles in several of his operas in London, but in 1886 he was arrested for bigamy. Russell was married four times, but her longest relationship was with Diamond Jim Brady, who supported her extravagant lifestyle for four decades.

In 1885, Russell returned to New York and continued to star in operetta and musical theatre. For many years, she was the foremost singer of operettas in America, performing continuously through the end of the nineteenth century. In 1899, she joined the Weber and Fields's Music Hall, where she starred for five years. After 1904, she began to have vocal difficulties and switched to dramatic roles. She later returned to musical roles in vaudeville, however, finally retiring from performing around 1919. In later years, Russell wrote a newspaper column, advocated women's suffrage and was a popular lecturer.

Although the miniatures have no identifying inscription, a previous owner had purchased them as being of Lillian Russell. There are various known photographic portraits which are similar and thus support the identification. They include the examples showing here.

The miniature with the older sitter is less certainly of Lillian Russell, but their shared provenance, the apparent date of painting, a similar curl in the middle of her forehead, and the predilection towards the wearing of pearls all support an identification as Lillian Russell.

One of the two artists is unknown, but the other portrait is signed C S Wiltschek, for Charles Sigfried Wiltschek. He was an art dealer in New York, but he also painted many miniatures, usually over a faint photographic base, as was common in early 20C America.

Other examples in this collection are: Wiltschek, C S - portraits of 20C ladies
Wiltschek, C S - portrait of 1930's lady

There is little in the reference books about the artist, although there is a reference to a crippled artist in the 1930's called Charles Wiltschek who is believed to be the same person, possibly with the full name Charles Sigfried Wiltschek. In his WWI draft registration card Sigfried Wiltschek stated that he had "one leg shorter than the other" and described himself as an art dealer. Sigfried Wiltschek lived in New York in 1920 with his wife Mollie, his two sisters, Violet and Jospehine, and his brother, William. Sigfried described himself as an artist in the 1920 census records. He was born in Austria in 5 Aug 1876 and arrived in the United States in 1898, where he was naturalised in 1907. C. S. Wiltschek, painted several portraits of the Duke family (as in Duke University) which hang in the Lilly Library at the university. 990

Some collectors reject miniature portraits with photographic bases, but they are an important part of art history, bridging purely painted portraits and purely photographic portraits.

Hence, I believe miniatures painted over a photographic base are under-rated in terms of collectability, as they are part of the history of both branches. Early photographs of known sitters are sought after, even where there are multiple examples. Thus, painted portraits over a photographic base are even rarer. 1426, 1427

Later, a very kind visitor has provided the further information below about Wiltschek, which largely supports the earlier comments, although there are some differences. The visitor has recently acquired a miniature by Wiltschek which is believed to be of Woodrow Wilson.
C.S. Wiltschek lists three Siegfried Wiltscheks:
C. Siegfried
Carl Siegfried

Siegfried and C. Siegfried are the same individual. Carl Siegfried Wiltschek does not fit the profile. He appears in New York at addresses different than Siegfried and C. Siegfried, appears to have been naturalized in 1891 and his occupation is listed as mechanic. No individual by the name of Charles Siegfried Wiltschek appears in Ancestry,com

Siegfried and C. Siegfried Wiltschek:

Date of Birth – 5 August 1876 (WW I Draft Registration Card, 1917-1918)
Place of Birth – Austria (various US Census reports)
Parents – Joseph Siegfried (1852 - ?)
- Henriette Siegfried (1854 - ?)
Arrived in the USA – 1893
Occupation – Artist (1910 census), Art Dealer (Draft Registration Card)
Wife – Mollie (1880 England - ?) (Her name is misspelled Molly and Wollie in Mollie is correct per the Draft Registration Card)

Sailing Records, Hamburg, Germany – Record shows Siegfried, then 17, leaving Hamburg with his mother and seven younger siblings on 30 August 1893. Port of entry in the USA was New York.

1910 US Federal Census:
Joseph Wiltschek – age 58, head of household, naturalized 1852
Henriette Wiltschek – age 56, housewife, naturalized 1854
Siegfried Wiltschek – son, 33 years, occupation – artist
Mollie Wiltschek – daughter-in-law, 29 years, occupation - housewife
Two additional sons and three daughters are shown to be living in the household.
Joseph and Henriette are shown as having emigrated to the USA in 1892. The sailing record of 30 August 1893 shows only the mother and eight children leaving Hamburg. It is possible that the parents both came to the USA in 1892 and, after establishing themselves in NYC, Henriette returned to Austria for the children.

1915 New York State Census:
Siegfried Wiltschek, head of household, age 38, Austrian emigrant, artist
Mollie Wiltschek, wife, age 35, English emigrant, housewife
Kaufman Rosa___,daughter, age 17, born in the USA

1920 US Federal Census:
Siegfried Wiltschek, head of household, age 43, emigrated about 1898, naturalized 1905 or 1907
Mollie Wiltschek, wife, age 40, emigrated 1904, naturalized (no year)


Nicolet, Frank Lucien - portrait of Rodin with The Thinker

Update - This miniature portrait has been included only in the European section of the collection. However, as recent research has shown that that Frank Nicolet mainly worked in Canada, the entry is now also being shown in the American 20C section of the collection.

Although somewhat larger than most miniature portraits at 243mm x 165mm, this is a stunning miniature portrait by Frank Lucien Nicolet (1889->1944) of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) standing by his most famous sculpture. It shows Rodin around 1905.

The bronze sculpture of Rodin shown here is by the British sculptor John Tweed (1869-1933), who was a good friend of Rodin.

It has been dated to around 1902 and is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum Collection, see

There is a miniature portrait of John Tweed in this collection which is painted by John Stewart Clark. Whenever Rodin visited London, he stayed with John Tweed.

An early painting of Rodin is this 1881 portrait by Francois Flemang (1856-1923).

No doubt there are other paintings of Rodin, but the miniature portrait, being nearly contemporary with Rodin, must be rare as a painted portrait.

There are many images of Rodin's sculptures available on the Internet, but not many photographs of Rodin himself.

Those available do seem to support the view that the miniature of Rodin represents him around 1905.

One example of a photograph is this 1905 portrait by Walter Henry Barnett which is helpful in dating the miniature,

The head of Rodin in the miniature portrait is about the same size as would appear in a normal sized miniature portrait.

No direct source for the miniature has been found, although a biography of Rodin includes several photographs which seem to have been taken around the same time, as he is wearing the same dust coat. Contact has been made with the biographer and also the Rodin Museum, but neither of them had seen the image previously.

As indicated below, it is even faintly possible that Nicolet painted the portrait from life, although Nicolet would have been only aged about 16 at the time the portrait relates to.

It is more likely that Nicolet painted the miniature of Rodin as an illustration for a magazine article, perhaps around the time of Rodin's death, but to date no such magazine article has been located.

He was in Canada at some stage as a kind visitor has advised that Nicolet used to go fishing with his father in Canada and in addition, painted a portrait of him.

While there he painted several images which were used for Victory Bond war posters. They included this one titled "Doing my bit- Four Years".

Other Canadian references to F L Nicolet are found in Canada as the painter of more World War I Victory Bonds posters such as "Be yours to hold it high" which is part of the Ontario Archives Collection at Canadian Posters from the First World War - Victory Bonds

Another poster by him is this 1918 poster of a soldier in poppy fields."If ye break faith, we shall not sleep".

Both the latter two posters were inspired by the words in the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McRae, which was first published anonymously in the 8 December 1915 edition of Punch Magazine, as per the copy here below, where the words used on the posters can be seen.

It is owned by The Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, see Parks Canada - Teachers' Corner - The Price We Paid for Nationhood ...

This second poster was used as part of a campaign to raise $150 million, but it was so successful it raised $400 million. As a result Frank Nicolet was awarded a prize by the Canadian Government, see Amanda French SCMLA 2005 Poetic Propaganda and the Provincial ...

An example of the poster which is 61cm x 89 cm, was sold at auction on 19 April 2008 for a hammer price of $300.

There were a number of poems written in reply to Flanders Fields and some of them can be read at Reply-poems to In Flanders Fields

It has been difficult to find further many definite references to Nicolet the person, as opposed to the artist, but it seems likely that he is the Frank Nicolet listed in the 1930 USA census as lodging in White Plains, Westchester, NY. He described himself as an artist who had arrived in America in 1912, having been born in England in 1889 of French and English parents.

There is also a USA draft registration record of June 1917 completed by Frank L Nicolet born 21 October 1889 at Brighton, Sussex, England, who described himself an artist and at that time was living in New York. However, most references say he was born in Sussex England in 1887 and immigrated to Canada at an early age.

After the end of World War Nicolet continued to create posters, including this 1919 one about reconstruction which is part of the Elizabeth Coenan Collection, Provincial Museum of Alberta.

Although no record of him has been found in British census records, it may be that he was the son of Theophile Nicolet (1849-?) of St Etienne, France and Clara Clements (1860-?) his wife who was born on the Ganges, in India. They were married in JFM 1880 and are recorded in the 1891 census record, where Theophile Nicolet was a teacher of languages who lived in Brighton, Sussex, England with five children.

There are a couple of art records for watercolour paintings by a Theophile Nicolet dated 1913 and 1915, one titled "Venise" and the other "Bord de rivière" thus it seems possible that the Nicolet family were in France or Italy at some point after the 1891 British census.

Given this it is quite possible Frank Nicolet did meet Rodin in France.

There are references to Nicolet also making posters for World War II, see Liste alphabétique des titres : À nous de jouer : guide pratique ... 251


Unknown - portrait of United States Army officer

This miniature portrait is unsigned and is painted on porcelain. It has been included in the American 20C Gallery on stylistic grounds, as it was painted around 1900, although it will have been based on a photograph taken some 20 years earlier.

As it is painted on porcelain, it was most probably painted in Germany, being copied there from a photograph sent from America. American artists did not paint on porcelain, although they did sometimes paint on milk glass.

Although the sitter is unknown, it is clear he was of a Major or Colonel's rank in the United States Army. He is wearing the 1872/1879 pattern Senior Officer's frock coat which only differed in the cuffs from 1872 to 1879. The Senior Officer's coat had 18 buttons in a double row and was worn by Majors and Colonels. For a comprehensive article about the 1872 uniform, see 1872 officer's dress coat: A photo survey, The Military Images ... -

The complete rows are not visible in the image, but the Senior Officer's coat can be distinguished from the Junior Officer's frock coat which had 14 buttons and were in consequence, more widely spaced.

On his shoulders can be seen the Shoulder Knot, also called the Russian Knot. This was only used on the Frock Coat and was authorised for all ranks, except generals. The Shoulder Knot came in several color combinations and showed the branch of the army and the wearer's rank. Shoulder Knots were used in the Full Dress Version while Shoulder Boards were used in the "Undress" version.

It is interesting to note that his collar is turned down and his shirt can be seen, whereas the modern versions of 19C uniforms illustrated here show the collar upright. The significance of this not known for sure, but a knowledgeable source advises that in the 19C, officer's uniforms were private purchase, so there were variations. The army wasn't as strict with minor points of the uniform as they are today. This collar probably was such a variation. It may have been made to wear as either a stand-up or lay-down collar.

Modern made examples of the Senior Officers' Frock Coat and the Shoulder Knot are shown here and are available for purchase at US M1872 junior & senior officer's frockcoat (Indian Wars), 19th ...

The sitter in this portrait is unknown. 1289


Underwood, Ethel B - portrait of a lady with a dog

This miniature is signed at the lower right "E B Underwood 1904" for Ethel B Underwood who was born in Massachusetts in June 1874. It is very unusual in that the sitter has a dog on her knee. It is the only miniature in the collection to show a pet, apart perhaps from a family group where one of the children is holding a butterfly on a string, although it is conceded it may be stretching things a little to call a butterfly a pet.

There were several people named Ethel Underwood and so it has been a little difficult to determine which one is correct. However, on balance, Ethel is believed to have been the youngest of four children of George L Underwood (1832-c1900), a physician of Boston, MA and Katherine L Luyster (Kate), (May 1839-Feb 11 1911) of New York, who were married 14 Apr 1859 in New York.

Katherine was the daughter of the prosperous Massachusetts merchant, Abraham R Luyster, also of Westfield, Richmond, NY who in the 1850 census disclosed assets of $45,000. In the 1870 census, George and Kate Underwood lived in Ward 10, Boston, disclosed assets of $15,000 and had one servant.

Ethel's brothers were George R Underwood (1863-?) a Boston purchasing agent, Herbert Thaxter Underwood (1873-?) a Boston architect, and Western Underwood (1867-?) a Los Angeles banker.

Thaxter Underwood was involved in the design of the first outdoor swimming pool built in America, in Belmont, MA and opened Jun 17, 1912. It was named the Underwood Pool for his uncle, see Town of Belmont, MA - History of the Underwood Pool He also designed the Jacobethan Revival Rectory at 676 Washington Street, Brighton which was constructed in 1913 by W.J. Larsfield of 20 Leamington Road, Brighton, from designs provided by H. Thaxter Underwood of 46 Cornhill, Boston.

In the 1900 census, and recorded as E B Underwood, Ethel lived in rented premises with her widowed mother in Manhattan, NY and described her occupation as miniature artist.

She is recorded as having exhibited at the Third Annual Exhibition of the American Society of Miniature Painters, see NY Times Feb 2, 1902 PAINTERS OF MINIATURES.; Third Annual of the American Society at ...

The exhibition included eleven miniatures by Laura Coombs Hill and four by William Jacob Baer.

Ethel seems not to have married as in the 1920 census she appears to be living in Middletown, Orange NY and gives no occupation, although she had two lodgers living with her.

No other examples of her work have been seen to date. However, she must have painted quite a number and was very competent. The painting of the dog here is very well done, as are the hands and the jewellery.

The breed is now called a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, although that name was not in use at the time the miniature was painted. Then it was a King Charles Spaniel, with the breed Cavalier King Charles being developed in the 1920's.

The breed has often been associated with Royalty and King Charles II went so far as to issue a decree that the King Charles Spaniel could not be forbidden entrance to any public place, including the Houses of Parliament. Such spaniels can be seen in many paintings of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These early spaniels had longer, pointier snouts and thinner-boned limbs than today's.

For much about the breed see Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The sitter is unknown. 1277

Deane, Lillian Reubena - portrait of Miliza Korjus

This is a large miniature portrait at 150 mm by 115 mm. It is vertically signed at the lower right "L Reubena Deane" for Lillian Reubena Deane (24 Sep 1880-24 Jun 1972) who was born and worked in Chicago and also worked in Los Angeles.

On the reverse of the frame there is an inscription "Portrait on ivory of "Meliza Korjus", "The Great Waltz" (music by Johann Strauss) by Lillian Reubena Deane July 1945."

Miliza Korjus (aka Meliza Korjus) (1912-1980) was an opera singer whose operatic appearances and recordings quickly propelled her to the forefront of European singers and earned her the nickname "The Berlin Nightingale".

She decided to leave Estonia in 1933 to pursue a career as an opera singer in Western Europe and then in Hollywood. Seven years later, at the outbreak of World War II, the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Estonia. Mass deportations and arrests followed the communist takeover, and the Korjus family never returned. Estonia regained its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The family eventually settled permanently in the United States, where Miliza Korjus got her big break in Hollywood in 1938, playing a leading role in the critically acclaimed film "The Great Waltz," about the life of composer Johann Strauss. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role.

Korjus's film career was brought to an end by a bad automobile accident in 1940, when she was hospitalized for nearly a year, but she toured as a singer, then stayed in Mexico during World War II and also made a number of records. She retired from the concert stage in 1952.

Her concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, after an absence of some ten years from the opera stage, was welcomed. Time magazine acknowledged she was a little rusty, but commented "Miliza Korjus is not quite as good as her recordings, but she is one of the best coloraturas U.S. concert goers have heard in a decade". See The Marvelous Miliza - TIME At the time she had purchased as her home, the Spanish-style villa in Hollywood that Rudolph Valentino built just before his death. For more about her, see Miliza Korjus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In 1998, six decades after she left Estonia with her family, Meliza's daughter, American-Estonian Melissa Wells then aged 64, returned to the land of her birth to serve as U.S. ambassador. Melissa Wells handed her credentials over to Estonian President Lennart Meri on November 3, 1998. At the time she said "To come back to the place where I was born, with Estonia as a free and independent country and after its occupation and its tragic is a dream come true, it’s a miracle." Wells also served as U.S. ambassador to Zaire, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde.

There are two other miniatures by Deane in this collection. Firstly, the self portrait shown here which is dated 1900. Secondly, the miniature of Isobella Mendez in a very colorful dress, which is dated 1929.

Lillian Deane had a long career, as these examples of her technique cover a period of 45 years, being painted in 1900, 1929, and 1945. Over such a long period she must have painted many miniatures, but no other examples are currently known.

The 1900 self portrait was painted when she was only 20 years old. It shows that she was a competent painter of faces, but already had an interest in the clothing of her subjects, as she has painted her dress in some detail.

The 1929 and 1945 miniatures show that her fascination with color and costume became more important to her than capturing a photographic likeness of her subject. The 1929 painting of the dress is a masterpiece of color and detail. The 1945 miniature also concentrates on conveying a rainbow of pastel colours.

Being able to show these miniatures together as a tribute to Lillian Reubena Deane is a pleasure and also an opportunity to show that some miniaturists moved beyond the concept of photographic likeness, to capture color in an impressionist manner.

One could say of Deane's work, that she used the face of the sitter only as a prop to support her painting of the costume, whereas most miniature painters used costume as a prop to support their paintings of a sitter's face. 1281


Newell, Claude Potter - portrait of lady and daughters

This portrait has been acquired for the collection, although many collectors would not regard it as miniature portrait due to its size. However, it is painted using miniaturist techniques and thus provides a most unusual and large example of a miniature painter's skill.

Given the size and the amount of detail, it must have been a very expensive portrait when it was painted.

It is signed "C P Newell 1924" for Claude Potter Newell (1870->1930). He does not feature in the reference books, but was a highly regarded artist who painted wedding anniversary miniature portraits of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Two miniatures by C P Newell do appear in this collection. They are dated 1916 and 1918. See Newell, Claude Potter - portrait of a 20C lady and Newell, Claude Potter - portrait of a child

The size is 350 mm x 270 mm, thus it is really too large to be described as a miniature. It is painted on a hard thin white substance which is glued to card, so the reverse of the ground cannot be inspected.

It is too large to be a single sheet of ivory and no joins are apparent, although the ground is of similar thickness to that used for normal ivory miniatures.

Hence it must be on a thin sheet of ivorine, a plastic product which was first produced by the Xylonite Company in 1866.

Although much larger, the frame is the same design as was used for miniature frames around 1920, with an ornate chased border and a hanger of typical American design.

The portrait is very detailed, something that is really only possible because of the ivorine ground.

The detail would be lost if it had been painted on canvas or paper.

Most large portraits are not designed for close inspection and need to be viewed from a distance to appreciate the skill of the artist.

However, this portrait can be viewed under a magnifying glass and the skill in painting the detail of the faces and dresses is then appreciated.

It is sometimes said that the evidence of a skilled artist becomes apparent when one looks at how hands are painted.

Many artists are deficient in this area, but the close up image shown here indicates that Newell was very skilled at painting hands.

The sitters are unknown. 1260