Otto R. Eggers

Otto R. Eggers was an architect and delineator most noted for the work he produced when working with John Russell Pope, first as a draftsman, eventually as a partner.  Though he worked for other architects before Pope, and had his own firm after Pope’s death (Eggers and Higgins), he flourished when associated with Pope, and was as much an influence on their work as Pope himself.  It is no small claim that John Russell Pope owed much to Otto Eggers for his firm’s success, its reputation, and the legacy of the work.

Detail from "The Campus"; University Architecture, Yale Series, 1925

Detail from "The Campus"; University Architecture, Yale Series, 1925

Early on, the firm’s work initially centered around very high end country homes for the newly wealthy American business-and-banking upper class, banks, civic buildings, a few tentative “skyscrapers” (mostly unbuilt), and large scale urban works, such as Union Station in Richmond Virginia.  The later period of their work together is famous for monumental civic projects; The National Archives, The National Gallery, The Jefferson Memorial, schemes for the Lincoln Memorial, and studies for the Federal Triangle. They did quite a bit of college and university planning, culminating in their work together on the master plans for both Yale University and Dartmouth College.

The Dartmouth College sketches have found some exposure on the web, and so I include just a few here.  The Yale images, however, are virtually unknown. And though Rizzoli published a monograph on Pope (“John Russell Pope, Architect of Empire”, Rizzoli, NY, 1998), the chapter on campus planning touches only upon the wider view, aerials, and plans.  The suite of individual building sketches remains unpublished other than the original portfolio, “University Architecture: John Russell Pope FAIA”, published in 1925 by William Helburn, Inc., NY.  I’m presenting perhaps two dozen, of thirty six from the folio.  The volume is fairly scarce, and difficult to come by today.  At 14×18 inches, with the plates reproduced at about two-thirds their original size, the effect of one plate after another of Eggers’ pencil sketches is staggering.  The reduction in scale is just enough to tighten the images to the point where some appear nearly photographic, that is until you peer into them and find casual evidence of a confident, even occasionally facile, human hand everywhere.

In 2005, I had the opportunity to view a number of Eggers’ originals for the Jefferson Memorial and National Gallery projects.  Some of the originals were four feet across, and represented, to me (as a professional renderer) a period we are not likely to see again:  where the time and effort expended to illustrate a building were a valued part of the design process itself.  Especially when consulting, an illustrator is usually brought in to take a snap shot at the end of the process.  Rarely today are the illustrations themselves part of the design process  (the office of Robert Stern is one exception).  If they are executed by an illustrator during the conceptual phase, they are invariably sketchy, and very informal.  But Eggers’ (and Pope’s) illustrations for the numerous schemes for the memorials treated each equally, and all were executed formally.  It was never as if the illustration or idea got short-shrift until the final version was decided upon, at which time it might get a little more effort in the production of a formal rendering.  Their efforts throughout produced a unified set of schemes, all appearing equal, and all receiving their due diligence.

First though, some images from the firm’s lesser know work. Followed by four (of the ten) Dartmouth renderings, a few from the Johns Hopkins University studies, studies for the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and finally, the Yale series. Again, of some 36 plates for the Yale Master Plan Series, nearly all of them aerials or eye level perspectives by Eggers, I am presenting ‘only’ two dozen.

Enough talk… Enjoy.

The Colonel H. H. Rodgers House

The Colonel H. H. Rodgers House

A typical straightforward sketch of Eggers for a small residence. There’s nothing here but some freehand trees and their shadows, plus a roof, and yet somehow he’s drawn a house.  The negative space constitutes the stucco wall surfaces.  Basically, the idea is “draw everything but the building, and thereby draw the building”.

Glen Farm, Newport, R.I.

Glen Farm, Newport, R.I.

One of many Beaux Arts Residences executed by John Russell Pope, with Eggers as designer and delineator.  Their method, especially with homes of this scale, was for Pope to verbally describe and elucidate his idea, describing the effect desired.  Eggers would then turn almost immediately toward designing in perspective, often from photographic reference.  He’d quite literally compose and design the massing three dimensionally, picturesquely.  It’s a dangerous way to fly, but in their hands, the method was fruitful.

McLean Family Mausoleum, Proposed

McLean Family Mausoleum, Proposed

Of all Eggers sketches, even the highly formal ones, this direct rapid sketch (McLean Family Mausoleum, above) may be my favorite. Not one move is wasted. There is an economy here that produces an image more powerful than some of his intensely formal illustrations, especially the formal Beaux Arts style watercolored elevations, where Eggers sometimes seems ham-strung and frustrated by the stand-offish nature of a pure elevation (see the Jefferson Memorial color elevation, below).  He seems more at home and more inventive in the two-point perspective where, even when executed very formally (meaning ‘finished,  tight, resolved’) he feels free to introduce a good dose of informality, lest things get too fussy.

Personally, what I enjoy about Eggers’ informality is the dirt.  Leaves on the ground, grass in the cracks, stains on the stone.  Try that today and any architect hiring you would wag a finger. Not so for Eggers.  His buildings breathe a bit more I think because they have seen a little time.  Note the top of this monument, where the pyramidal top (exposed to rain) is clean, but as the drip runs down the face of the monument, there is a touch of dirt to the limestone.  The values of white are nearly identical, but the difference is enough to form the mass, and define the edge.  Likewise, on the left side of the monument, the value is nearly the same as the front facing us, both bright white.  But there’s just enough tree shadow breaking over the corner crease to establish for us the geometry of the design.  He’s also not afraid to get dark where it will help. The upper right is nearly monolithic, but there’s no one  looking at it that doesn’t accept it as a copse of trees.

Following are just some of the Dartmouth Plates from the “University Architecture” folio of 1925.  The full series can be found on line elsewhere by moderate googling, if you are inclined.

Dartmouth College, Library

Dartmouth College, Library

Dartmouth College, Dormitory Group

Dartmouth College, Dormitory Group

Dartmouth College, the Chapel

Dartmouth College, the Chapel

Dartmouth College, Aerial View of the Pope Master Plan

Dartmouth College, Aerial View of the Pope Master Plan

Eggers also did a small series of illustrations for a new building at The Johns Hopkins University, which was to be the centerpiece of the masterplan. The aerial here is photographic in its execution. Its value range is infinite. Just to do the trees would be a two day effort…

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

The University Building at Johns Hopkins, South

The University Building at Johns Hopkins, South

The University Building at Johns Hopkins, North

The University Building at Johns Hopkins, North

Detail, The University Building at Johns Hopkins, North

Detail, The University Building at Johns Hopkins, North

Eggers and Pope worked on many monumental projects for Washington D.C., including schemes for the Lincoln Memorial, below. The pale palette and suppressed linework are perfect together.  But the real genius here for me isn’t even in the palette or the atmospheric perspective (the trees at left fading blue as they feather back into the distance), the genius-moves in my book are the thin glint of china-white opaque paint on the small flat portion at the top of the stairs just below the horizon (which turns blaze-yellow/orange as it reflects the sky light at right), and the barely apparent break in the clouds allowing light to fall on a group of figures at low left. That move at bottom left keeps the eye from falling off the bottom of the page, and is more than enough to balance the bright sky at upper right.

Lincoln Memorial, Proposed

Lincoln Memorial, Proposed

There is precious little of Eggers’ watercolor work which has been published. Architectural Record (an Architect’s trade magazine still published today) did a lengthy article on Eggers, in 1919.  In it, he was described almost solely as a watercolorist, even invited to furnish a series of six covers for the magazine.  And yet today that side of his work is virtually unknown.  I can’t help but blather on here…  Note, in the image below, how the coffers of the ceiling structure receive a bluish cast from the bounced atmospheric light.  The sky is a light source.  Only in space, with no atmosphere, are shadows truly black, because they are absent any fill light. Our sky, though, scatters sunlight, and re-fills the shadows with some measure of bounced light. And because it is a blue light source, we have a ceiling here (and the upper portions of the columns at left) which are actually lit despite being in shade and shadow. Their darkness is mitigated by a lighter bluish fill light.  This keeps the massive ceiling and shaded columns, which make up two thirds of the image, from making the image dark, ponderous, and funereal.   Sure, this is gushing fan-boy language.  I’ll admit it.  But what I’m a fan of isn’t even necessarily the technique, because this is a phenomenon exploited by artist well before, and since.  What I find impressive as an illustrator is that he did this for one of many illustrations, knowing full well the image was going to have a life of just a few meetings perhaps, and that in all likelihood they would go into a drawer and (as far as he knows) never see the light of day again.  This was ‘merely’ one scheme of many. He did it more for the love of the image than for his employer, or the audience, even.  He did it for himself.  That, to me, is when ‘illustration’ becomes ‘art’.

Lincoln Memorial, Proposed, Interior

Lincoln Memorial, Proposed, Interior

Pope and Eggers did not win the commission for the Lincoln Memorial.  But their work on the Jefferson Memorial eventually came to fruition, and the project was designed and ultimately built under the firm’s direction.  When Pope passed away during construction of the Memorial, Eggers took over the entire workload of the office and the work was finished under his direction.  Also at this time, the firm oversaw the design and construction of the National Gallery of Art.  Eventually, he reorganized the firm into Eggers and Higgins, and went on to produce much work of similar scale and scope as he did under Pope.

Proposed Memorial to Thomas Jefferson, Washington, DC

Proposed Memorial to Thomas Jefferson, Washington, DC

An Alternate Proposed Memorial to Thomas Jefferson

An Alternate Proposed Memorial to Thomas Jefferson

The Jefferson Memorial, as Built

The Jefferson Memorial, as Built

Finally, the Yale series.  The study, entitled ” Yale University: A Plan for its Future Building” was commissioned of Pope by Francis Patrick Garvan, Yale ’98, and originally published in book form.

Again, the images below constitute only about two-thirds of the renderings in the folio.  Another twelve vignettes and formal renderings fill out this volume of work.  The control of the vignette and edges, the values, and the pairing of selective detail with looser sketch work is an example how something can be made to look so easy, almost facile, and yet ultimately be so compelling.  There are lessons here enough to keep an artist busy for some time.  One thing to keep in mind, none of these buildings were “designed” in the true sense of the word.  The master plan intent was to establish the locations and scale of the proposed buildings to guide future development.  Eggers took the rough massing (how tall, how wide, how many stories) and fleshed them out as he drew, in an effort to imbue the overall scheme with a sensibility and theme.  These were not buildings that were fully-fledged and their designs complete, and then turned over to him for his illustrating.  He worked with a rough mass, and developed the building as he developed the perspective drawings.  Every detail in these images was intended merely as a placeholder, and a suggestion.  This was a concept, rather than anything literally to be built.  But the impact was profound and emphatic.

Yale University, The Library

Yale University, The Library

The lead off image in the series is highly unusual when compared to the rest.  It’s the loosest, least exact, most sketchy.  But the atmospheric effect is so powerful, and the idea so concrete, that we might be forgiven for thinking this is actually what was built.

Yale, The New Campus, Aerial

Yale, The New Campus, Aerial

The New Campus, Library at Right

The New Campus, Library at Right

The Campus

The Campus

The Library

The Library

From the caption in the folio: “The Intellectual centre of an educational institution is its library- a building that should dominate in dimensions and quality the entire University group.”

The Library

The Library

Note the dark right foreground, dark near blacks in the window constituting a reflection of buildings and sky, and the atmospheric tower beyond.

The Library Court

The Library Court

There are a number of vignettes in the series which constitute an experiential path through the scheme, up to and inside buildings, or down narrow pathways and arcades.  The experience is almost ignored today in architectural illustration, in favor of the “stand back and get it all in” single shot of a building.  It may be said that it is an economic concern, that no one wants to spend the money on that many images.  Well, we knowPope and Eggers didn’t do this for free.  I’m inclined to think that today, many buildings are considered objects to be looked at, at arm’s length, and that all too often the experience isn’t treated as equally important.  Yet the experience is one of the chief things which integrates buildings into their context. One of the threads of experience in their Yale presentation was the Library. After the ‘approach’ views above, comes this view of the courtyard entrance of the library, which is followed by yet another, closer view of the entry (not included here), and then still further by the interior shot below.

The Library, Interior

The Library, Interior

I can tell you that if I were charged with “making up the interior” of this library as one part of three dozen images, I don’t think I’d take on the challenge of free-handing the lierne vaulted ceiling, the way Eggers did here.  I’m guessing, of course, but the  evidence that he did this on the fly is the very slight issue of the perspective at the far end, when the vaults don’t quite recede or compress enough.  Far from being a mistake, it actually points out to me that he did this without any sort of underlay, or constructed perspective to draw on top of.  This, to Eggers, was a “rough” sketch.

The Gymnasium

The Gymnasium

From the Folio: “Physical Training is as essential as mental and its home is in the Gymnasium. The plan suggests a Gymnasium architecturally treated in a manner fitted to its salience”.  Almost makes you forget to ask, as a client, “How much is this going to cost us, Mr. Architect?”  Which, frankly, is sometimes half the goal….

The Entrance to the Gymnasium Court as seen from High Street

The Entrance to the Gymnasium Court as seen from High Street

Entrance to the Gymnasium

Entrance to the Gymnasium

Looking Towards York Street, with the Gymnasium on Right

Looking Towards York Street, with the Gymnasium on Right

An Arcade in the Gymnasium Court

An Arcade in the Gymnasium Court

Hill House Avenue Looking Toward Observatory

Hill House Avenue Looking Toward Observatory

Hill House, the Observatory

Hill House, the Observatory

The Art School

The Art School

The Art School, Courtyard Interior

The Art School, Courtyard Interior

The lighting in this arcade sketch is a tour de force. The shadows of the door frame at left are created by indirect lighting from the light bouncing upward from the paving stones. The blown out values in the middle are obviously from direct sun, and they are the light source for the entire coffered ceiling maybe 25 feet above.  By the time that light reaches the ceiling, it produces a soft nearly shadowless light.

A Memorial

A Memorial

The Square

The Square

Elm Street Looking West

Elm Street Looking West

Wall Street Gate

Wall Street Gate

Otto Reinhold Eggers (1882–1964) and Daniel Paul Higgins (1886–1953)

Otto Reinhold Eggers (1882–1964) and Daniel Paul Higgins (1886–1953)

After Pope’s death, Eggers and a fellow associate, Daniel Paul Higgins, continued the work of the firm. In 1937 they changed the name of the firm, which Pope founded in 1903 as the ‘Office of John Russell Pope, Architect’, to ‘Eggers & Higgins’. They played a major role with New York University on the redevelopment of Washington Square, and the firm became engaged with Indiana University as their university architects for more than 30 years. Higgins passed away in 1953.  Otto Reinhold Eggers died in 1964, in New Rochelle, New York, at the age of 81.

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57 responses to “Otto R. Eggers

  1. I assume that this is Strikeman’s blog and I am now 86 1/2 years old and worked at Eggers and Higgins during the early 1960’s as a young Architect.,following 3 years at Harrison & Abramovitz (about 15 blocks uptown). One of the valued employees was McMullen who is the illustrator of many, many ads and posters for Broadway Productions (even seen within a week or two in the NYT.) He was used for architectural views as he could draw anything well—as he still can. At that time the Cathedral in Hartford CT had had a bad fire and rather than restore it Cardinal Spellman, a great friend of this office decided to raze it and build a new one. Do you have photos or drawings of the finished product. I worked on (Pier 90?) the new Holland America Line Pier which I think is still extant as designed. I would work on the drawings during the day and then go to the pier at 3 PM to supervise / check construction for a few more hours.

    • Theresa Johnston

      Hi Sidney, Did you know my dad, Robert Spadafora? he is your age and worked for Mr. Eggers also.

      • Bobbie Brooks Pomerantz

        Theresa, I worked at The Eggers Group as its first Marketing Director while your dad was still working there. It was while David Eggers was still there, too. Others there at the time: Paul Lampl, Andrena Del Negro, Peter Halfon, Frank Munzer, etc. I recall your dad……

      • Theresa Johnston

        Bobbie Brooks Pomerantz….there is no reply option on your post. But thanks for that fact. I am going to ask my dad if he remembers any of these names. Thank you

      • Bobbie Brooks Pomerantz

        Theresa, I am not sure how to add a reply option. I have many more names to add to that list. If you can post an email address, I will write to you directly. Thanks.

      • Theresa Johnston

        Hi Bobbie, my email is Samworth1@aol.com I see now you have to scroll All the way down to the end of ALL the post to reply. Thanks for the reply. Anything you have to say I’m sure my dad will find it very interesting : )

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  3. Hi Jeff,

    Great post on Otto R. Eggers. These truly are stunning works of art.

    In 2005 when you were able to view the originals of the Jefferson Memorial and National Gallery renderings, was this at the Library of Congress or are these drawings privately held?

    I Chair the Awards Committee within the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art Washington Mid Atlantic Chapter. Our award program has been named after John Russell Pope, in honor of the rich architectural heritage his firm left for not only Washington, D.C. but the region as a whole.

    We would love to feature an exhibit of Otto R. Eggers’ beautiful renderings the evening of our inaugural awards ceremony, April 17th, at the Cosmos Club. I would be very much obliged if you could point me in the right direction as to the location of these drawings so we may look into having a facsimile made of a select few.

    Please feel free to email me at david.hathcock@olbn.com or call me at 301-358-3282.

    Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing from you!
    David

    http://www.classicist-washington.org/jr_pope_awards

  4. Jeff,
    I have a number of original Schell Lewis Pencil Renderings… Is there any interest w/ these?

    • Hi again. Sorry, just saw your second comment after replying to the previous…

      I personally am always interested in work like Schell Lewis’ and Eggers’. If you’d like, send some scans or photos to my work e-mail adress: info [at] jeffstikeman [dot] com. (Not sure if my formatting there will defeat any email spammers, but it’s worth a shot. just convert the brackets to the typical symbols…)

      Schell Lewis was one of a great many beaux-arts trained architects. Every one of them seemed to have a natural pencil hand which we don’t see at all these days. Great stuff. Thanks for weighing in.
      Jeff

      • Bobbie Brooks Pomerantz, Co-Senior Partner, The Strategy Group, West Chester PA

        I had the privilege of working with David L. Eggers when Eggers & Higgins was renamed The Eggers Group in the mid 1970s — as the firm’s first marketing director. The rich history of the work of Otto Eggers was always there in the background, but it was a new age in the architectural world: design build, the rise of a new crop of high profile, media savvy architects and firms, a new competitiveness driven by economic circumstances, etc. Looking at Otto Eggers drawings and paintings on your site brings awe at the talent and contribution of this man to his craft and ultimately to the design history of this country. Kudos for keeping this treasure trove alive……what a wonderful exhibit it could make.
        For family of David L. Eggers, if he is still alive (hard to tell from posts), please pass on my warm regards.

      • My great uncle, A. Hays Town was a renowned architect here in the deep south and hired Schell Lewis for about a dozen jobs. Many of the originals are still with my cousin. While I admired Eggers tremendously, I wished that I knew more of Mr. Lewis and his work, but, search as I might, I can find precious little regarding this great delineator. Do you know of any biography of him? Anywhere?

      • Schell was indeed a wonderful delineator. I do not know, unfortunately, of any real biography or information on him.
        Thanks for weighing in though. I have had a couple questions about Schell in the past few months. Wish I could help more!
        Jeff

      • sorry, I can’t seem to post in the correct spot. (I’m 70 and new to this) Let’s try again:
        My great uncle, A. Hays Town was a renowned architect here in the deep south and hired Schell Lewis for about a dozen jobs. Many of the originals are still with my cousin. While I admired Eggers tremendously, I wished that I knew more of Mr. Lewis and his work, but, search as I might, I can find precious little regarding this great delineator. Do you know of any biography of him? Anywhere?

      • No worries re: the ‘reply’ function here. Sometimes it can be tough to know who you are replying to.

        I don’t have any originals myself. I sometimes hear from people who do have them, but can only really provide general advice. I don’t try to give appraisals or anything, but am always willing to point someone in the right direction, or explain what it is they have.

        Jeff

  5. I am a third generation architect. In trying to rid myself of nearly 90 years of accumulation… drawings, files, etc… I have run across photostat renderings, no doubt reduced… where my Grandfather (Geo. Watts Carr) associated himself w/ Eggers & Higgins for the Institute of Government Buildings @ the University of North Carolina about 1952, 53. My Grandfather’s life spanned 1893 – 1975.

  6. Hi I am researching my Eggers family and have extensive sideways branches including I think 2 Otto’s but my research is older starting in Hamburg and Bremen in 1700’s. I would be interested to know Otto’s parents and Grandparents. A branch did move to US in about 1860’s.

    • Hi Freda.

      Sorry to say I don’t have any genealogical information on the family. My interest in Otto concerns his work as an architect and illustrator. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. Jeff Stikeman

    • Lillian E Davids

      Hi Freda,
      My name is Lillian Davids (maiden name Eggers) and came up to your post requesting information on the Otto R. Eggers family. My father Ricardo Otto Eggers came to the USA from Chile, SA in 1958 and at the time contacted Otto R. Eggers and we established belong to the same family branch in Hamburg Germany. The Eggers family book which I believe is from 1462 is at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, but also at the New York Library in 5th. Ave. We lived in Long Island, NY for 55 years and now moved to North Carolina. If you are interest about the family, maybe I can give you more information and you can contact me
      at lillianpaints@yahoo.com We are still in contact with family members in Germany. Hope you can get to see this post and answer me back.

  7. madelane coale

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone could help me find information about Eggers and Higgins work with the 1939 NY Worlds Fair. My grandfather Griffith Baily Coale did 5 mural/ vignettes for the Railroad Building, and I’ve been researching it. Haven’t found much but a few black and white photos that show a couple of his paintings but not all. I would be very grateful for any information or being told a good direction to go in to find anything.
    Thanks, Madelane Coale

    • Hi Madelane.

      I am sorry to say that I don’t have any information regarding Griffith Baily Coale and his work with Eggers. Please let me know if you come across what you are looking for, and I’ll of course do the same.

      Jeff

  8. John Cook

    I have a photograph of Washington D.C. signed by Higgins & Eggers. I would like to know if it has any value? Thanks, J. Cook

    • Hi John.

      Hard to say.

      Do you mean that there are two signatures, one by Paul Higgins and one by Otto Eggers? Or is the piece stamped with the name of the company, “Eggers and Higgins”? …and is it a photograph, or an actual physical original drawing (pencil or ink on linen or vellum, paper, etc.)?

      Drawings can have value, depending on the subject matter, size, level of execution, etc. But there’s no real standard. If you have photos or a scan of the piece, I might be able to help more, but valuation isn’t generally something I do. if you have scans or photographs, dimensions, etc., feel free to connect with me via email at jeff at jeffstikeman.com

      Thanks
      Jeff

    • John Cook

      Hi Jeff, Thanks for your reply. It is a Black & White 8×11 photograph with two individual ink signatures of Higgins & Eggers. The inscription reads: “To Mrs. T .Burt McGuire” who was an actress by the name of Lillian Roth. I will send you an email with photographs this weekend. Feel free to post them to your website. Thanks, John

  9. Kelly Comras

    Hi-

    I am writing a book about the landscape architect, Ruth Patricia Shellhorn. She went to Cornell with Henry Eggers, who became an architect.
    Do you know if Otto and Henry were related? If yes, would Otto have taught or lectured at Cornell during the early 1930s?

    • Hi Kelly.

      Sorry to say I don’t have any answers to your questions. I’m not familiar with Eggers’ relationship to Henry Eggers, or if he taught at Cornell.

      Some of the Eggers family have left comments below, on the Otto Eggers page…. you may have some luck contacting them directly. Good luck in your search.
      Jeff Stikeman

  10. BLH

    http://halfpuddinghalfsauce.blogspot.com/search/label/John%20Russell%20Pope

    ABOVE link has pencil and water color sketches by Eggers for John Russell Pope.

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  12. Pam Eggers Gill

    Hi Jeff, I like your blog a lot. My grandpa was quite a fellow. Did you know he designed the home of Hudson Motor Car Co. owner, William Chapin? It was built in Grosse Pointe , MI. When I asked his grandson, also Bill, about the house, he told me it was torn down and a smaller replica built for his grandmother to live in. That house is still there. You can look at the renderings in the White Triangle News, the publication of the Hudson Auto Club. You would have to go to the archives. I would also like to find out if any of Otto’s origional drawings, sketches or watercolors are out there to be purchased. Our family has most of them, or so I thought. Maybe not. Thanks, pam

    • I haven’t actually seen any of Otto’s works for sale. You can ask at the Gallery Lingard, in London, a gallery dedicated to architectural works. Thanks for weighing in, Pam.
      Jeff

    • Laura Fiedler

      Hi Mom! I have been looking up great grandpa for Ella for her school project and was really happy to see all of this. I knew he helped build the Jefferson Memorial and was really proud to see all of these drawings. I really hope our family still has many of them!
      Laura Gill Fiedler

  13. Bradley D. Cook

    Does anyone know what happened with the Archives of Eggers and Higgins after the firm closed (e.g. office files, original drawings, etc.)?
    You can e-mail me directly if you would like at: bcook@indiana.edu
    Thank you,
    Bradley D. Cook
    Indiana University Archives.

  14. Jim Williams

    I have just aquired the 16th copy of john russell popes book, { illustrated by o. r. eggers}, of Yale University. is it of any value? Does anyone know what it’s worth? Call me if you do; Jim Williams 760-469-7183

  15. RJ

    wow, i wish there are samples in high resolution…. one you can see it’s detail.

  16. Alvin Beam

    I have a set of prints, originally distributed by American Architect which later became Architectural Record. The prints are made from pencil sketches done by Otto Eggers. The series is Early American Architure. There are 56 prints. The page size is 9″x 12″. Does anyone know of a way to market the set?
    Alvin Beam
    Abeambeam@aol.com

  17. Rhyse

    Mr. Stikeman,

    Thank you for your detailed site devoted to Eggers. I am a Graduate Student at Judson University and am currently seeking out quality watercolors by Eggers or of Pope’s buildings (in color). It is an assignment for my watercolor class aimed at critically analyzing watercolor masterpieces in order to learn more about the craft. Might you know a good resource/book that has these, or perhaps yourself? Thanks again for this wonderful resource.

    Rhyse

    • Hi Rhyse.

      I don’t know of any resource that has a good number of the Eggers watercolors. You might find some of the older Architectural Record issues (ca. 1920s) which featured his watercolors at length, as a part of a story on his work, but I have not had much luck myself.

      Jeff

      • Theresa Johnston

        Hi Jeff…My dad worked for Eggers & Higgins and Mr. Eggers gave him two sketches (approx. 60yrs ago) The one I am looking at right now is a watercolor sketch named “Foyer of Meditiation”. I believe my dad said it’s Baylor U. It is extremely detailed and doesn’t resemble any of the sketches I see on your site. The other I do not have in front of me right now but it is a large sketch.(Not watercolored) Do you have any idea if there is value to these sketches and who may be interested in acquiring them from us if anyone, if my dad was interested in parting with them? I took a quick cell phone pic of the watercolor sketch if your interested in seeing it you can e-mail me. The deep colors don’t show well on the cell but you’d get the idea. Thanks.
        Theresa Johnston
        Samworth1@aol.com

      • Hi Theresa.
        Apologies for just replying now. Had a run of work like never before, and things got away from me the past few months. Haven’t been able to update the blog or to properly reply.
        They certainly have value, but I wouldn’t say I’m an appraiser in the least regard. I might be interested in them myself, though, as a fan and illustrator. Feel free to send some pics. Otto had a wonderful range of talent, but the pencil stuff shows up most because they were better suited to the printing process at the time. His watercolors, though, were spectacular in their own regard. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.
        Jeff Stikeman

  18. Dick Eggers

    Jeff – As I recall, Otto was a master at building exact replica’s of sailing ships. I recall that the Larchmont Yacht Club had – or still has – at least one of his works. It used to be displayed in the foyer of the clubhouse. The original drawings were procured at a museum, and Otto would cut each piece of wood by hand and cast the cannons out of lead. Even the pulleys worked! Also, Otto was friends with Rudy Schaeffer, of the Schaeffer Brewing Company, originally in Brooklyn, NY. I have seen sketches of Rudy’s yacht – a sailboat. Finally, Otto and this partner Dan Higgins, designed the interior of the cruise ship ‘United States’. Perhaps some of these blues or sketches still exist.
    Finally, he is buried with his wife, Bessie, at Kensico Cemetary, in Valhalla, NY, along with two of his children and their spouses.

  19. I imagine from the perspective of a fellow delineator Otto’s work is magical. It is virtually photographic to most of the rest of us. Friends are in awe of the few originals I have.
    I was told that Pope had him redraw a book of classical buildings in four mediums (pencil, ink, watercolor and charcoal) and that may have been where he gleaned his sense of light and perspective. I believe his mother was the art teacher and nanny to the children of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
    He really enjoyed perfection in his work. My dad told me after he retired Otto would carve a wooden cube maze, and if one piece were wrong, even after weeks of carving he would just throw it away and start anew.
    I have a copy of the original Yale book sent out to the prospective benefactors and alumni. It is quite a work.
    Thank you for this compilation, the joy in your writing is palpable.
    Mike Eggers

  20. Rick Domas

    Wonderful presentation of Otto Eggers’ talents. Thank you for the obvious hard work that went into this blog.

    I googled ‘Otto Eggers’ after seeing one of his presentation dwgs in a recent exhibition entitled ‘Drawing Toward Home: Designs for Domestic Architecture from Historic New England.’ The exhibition, by Historic New England (formerly SPNEA), features 100 dwgs of New England houses dating from the 18th through the 20th century, and depicts an array of building types and styles: Federal, Victorian, Arts and Crafts, and International by both famous and little-known architects. The exhibit is closed in Boston now but is moving to the National Building Museum in Wash DC in mid-February 2010 for an extended run there (till some time in August, I believe).

    For the Eggers ancestors doing research on Otto, I suggest you contact Lorna Condon, librarian and archivist, at Historic New England (Boston, MA). I suspect there are other Otto Eggers presentation dwgs in their collection. Good luck in your research. Would love to see a monograph come out on Otto’s very considerable talents as a delineator extraordinaire.

  21. Richard f. Eggers, Jr.

    Otto was my grandfather and I am priveleged to have known both he and his wife, Bessie. I have a few original watercolor and pencil sketches that her did from 1912 through the early 1930’s. Everyone who sees them remarks how much they look like a photograph! I am researching his ancestry, so, if anyone has information regarding his parents, please contact me at rfeggers@aol.com.

    • Glad to be of any help if I can. Good to hear from you.

      Best,
      Jeff Stikeman

      • David Mancuso

        I had no idea Otto was as talented as he was.
        If anyone is interested, my house was designed by Otto in 1920. (it was built in ’20 so maybe he was commissioned in ’19)
        It was a great experiment in recycling as the original building on the site was dismantled and it’s materials, and parts of it’s foundations, were reused in the construction of the new house.
        Feel free to email me if you have and questions or information to share.
        davidm@lazarusandsargeant.com

  22. John P. Eggers

    Your material is new since I last Googled my grandfather. He had retired by the time I was old enough to care about what he had accomplished, but talking with my father, David Eggers, who succeeded him at Eggers and Higgins, confirms your suppositions about his work ethic (for himself as much as the client) and the off-hand way he would create such work. Thank you for showing some drawings I had not seen. I only have one original watercolor, but it is something to see. Thank you for your kind words.

    • JeffStikeman

      His work is great stuff. It’s a shame you don’t have more of his pieces, but you may be able to find many books containing his work.

      I have always admired his work, and as someone trained in architecture and who practiced it for nearly 20 years, I know what it took for him to do what he did.

      He was immensely talented, and I continually look to his work as inspiration.

    • jeana lebeis

      hi,

      love this site! thanks for all the good information. my grandfather Edward H Lebeis was associated with Otto Eggers for some years. i have two small BW prints of european museums done by ORE that he touched up with pencil. i could probably scan these if anyone wants to see them.

      in the family there is also a print of a drawing of a cathedral … somewhere.

      some years ago some of his (Eggers’) renderings done for the city of philadelphia — 1910’s — passed through our family’s hands. i currently have a sepia print of one of them. again, if anyone is interested…

      strictly as a question of interest, does the john eggers family still have the grandfather clock? this was from my grandmother when she died, and i’m not trying to reclaim it, but if nobody wants it, i’d be happy to buy it back!

      best to all, jeana

      • Anonymous

        Dear Jenna, I believe the clock belongs to my cousin. I don’t remember it well. I am Otto’s granddaughter Pam. If you want, I’ll try to find it and sent you a photo.

  23. thank you so much for your site – your work is really great & I enjoyed reading about Eggers (and Pope)

    I agree most architect drawings today do not have the same romance –

    I had no idea you could create drawings like yours in Photoshop (& I work in it a lot) – so that was really interesting to read about – thanks!

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