He early made his reputation as a satiric artist and the leading periodicals of his native city were publishing his witty sketches, almost before he had left the Academy of Fine Arts. But art was not then a serious business to him and he took to the stage as a comedian and opera singer, and actually began to study medicine at Saint Louis, Mo., where he made his residence in 1868. But it was in Saint Louis that he found his real vocation.
There he established the German Puck, which, while it failed as a commercial enterprise, made his reputation. It was seen at once that a caricaturist of rare skill as a draftsman, of mental fertility and freshness, of witty and incisive satire, had appeared. He was engaged from 1872 to 1877 as caricaturist for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in New York, to which city he had removed, and in 1875 he started a New York German Puck in association with Adolph Schwartzman.
This was followed in 1877 by the English Puck. He was the first to use colored cartoons in caricature and drew upon a vast store of classical and historical incidents for adaptation in criticising modern social and political life.
Encyclopedia Americana, 1920