Oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches / Signed and copyrighted lower right
Otto Kuhler was born in Remscheid near Essen, Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1923. He became one of the best known industrial designers of American railroads. Kuhler designed rail-motor cars for American Car & Foundry in the 1930s. He went on to design double-ended rail motor cars for the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway in 1940 and for Boston's Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1946. He became world-famous after designing the “Hiawatha” passenger train locomotives operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (between Chicago and destinations in the Midwest and Western United States). Named after the epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, they were known by the colored embellishments designed by Kuhler. Kuhler also designed the napkins and draperies used in the dining cars.
Kuhler was an accomplished artist and painted trains and railway compositions. Some of his works are on exhibit at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, CO. A wonderful example of his skill is illustrated by “Thunder on Horseshoe Curve”, pictured above --- a powerful composition depicting two Pennsylvania Railroad engines, belching smoke, pulling their cars up the steep Allegheny Front in Southwestern Pennsylvania.