Signed lower left, Sonntag, c. 1860
Oil on canvas
Source: Michael A. Latragna Fine Art, Rochester, New York
Published in Nancy Dustin Wall Moure, William Louis Sonntag,
Artist of the Ideal, 1822-1900, Goldfield Galleries, 1980, pg. 118,
illustration #73. Private collection, Birmingham, Alabama.
William Louis Sonntag, Sr., is best known for his romantic landscapes of the American
wilderness, just on the verge of settlement. As a young artist, he studied at the Cincinnati
Academy of Fine Arts and traveled through the Ohio River Valley, West Virginia and
Kentucky. He traveled to Italy for the first time in 1853 and moved to New York three
years later. His “classic” style pictures, large panoramas with a luminescent river framed
by forested hills and distant mountains, were created from the late 1850s to the early 1870s
in a rich, opalescent palette.
The two paintings in the Finn collection, on pages 31 and 33, are among the finest examples
from this high point in Sonntag’s career.
His paintings are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
New York City, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Peabody Institute
at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
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