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William L. Sonntag SOLD


Gallery Database:

William Louis Sonntag (1822-1900). "Ohio Woods," oil on canvas, 36 x 48, signed.

Restored by Simon Parkes.

SORRY SOLD--A Museum Got It !

Curator's Comments: 

A native of East Liberty, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, William Sonntag was a landscape painter associated with the Hudson River School.  He is best remembered for his romantic depictions of the American wilderness  that reflect the influence of the eighteenth-century neoclassical tradition.  He pursued his art career, despite parental objections, and in the 1840s moved to Cincinnati
where he studied at the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts under Godfrey Frankenstein.  From the early 1840s to the mid 1850s, he had a studio in Cincinnati and made numerous painting trips in the Ohio River Valley and into the mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky.  His style of grandeur, sweeping vistas, and dramatic renderings was much influenced by Thomas Cole. This was Sonntag's best period, as seen in our offering.

In Cincinnati, his store-front gallery exhibition got the attention of a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad official who commissioned Sonntag to paint a series of landscapes along the B & O railroad route.   These works show a decline from the masterful luminism of his works done in the 1840's. Sonntag's work gained popularity because of their positive reception in the Western Union Art shows.  In 1853, he first traveled to Europe, and returned in 1855 for a year's study in Florence, Italy.  Upon his return, he settled in New York City, having married and combined a railroad painting trip with his honeymoon. In the latter part of his career he created panoramas with John C. Wolfe depicting Milton's Paradise Lost  and Paradise Regained, and traveled with Arthur Tait painting Catskill landscapes. In 1861, Sonntag became an associate member of the National Academy of Design and exhibited his work regularly there for the next 40 years.

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