Gilbert Munger

Paintings in Inventory (Click on an image for a larger view)

Gilbert Munger (1837-1903)<br /> Barbizon Trees in Winter<br /> 19” x 23 7/8,” signed lower left,<br />oil on canvas.

Barbizon Trees in Winter
19” x 23 7/8,” signed lower left,
oil on canvas.

           
Gilbert Munger was a noted American landscape painter in the Hudson River school style who went on to become a successful expatriate painter based in London and Paris. Like his friend and sketching companion Albert Bierstadt, Munger traveled through uncharted territories capturing views that introduced the beauties of the American West to a large audience.   
           
Munger grew up in Washington, D.C. where he showed artistic inclinations at an early age. While still a teenager, he was hired as an engraver by the Smithsonian Institution and later signed on as artist for Clarence King’s various survey expeditions. A scrupulous realist working in the Hudson River School tradition, Munger settled in San Francisco in 1869 and immediately was considered one of the city’s leading landscape painters. He befriended Albert Bierstadt during the latter’s 1872-73 sojourn in San Francisco. Munger traveled widely in California, taking sketches of significant scenic attractions in the crisp, fresh style that he had observed in Bierstadt’s plein-air studies.

By the middle 1870s, large-scale realistic landscapes in the Hudson River school style were being supplanted by the more intimate and impressionistic works of the French Barbizon painters. In 1877 Munger moved to Europe, initially living in London. Abroad, he kept painting scenes of the American West, while expanding his repertoire to include landscapes inspired by the French Barbizon painters. About 1886 Munger moved to Paris and painted north and south of the city along the Seine River. His style changed from realistic scenes of dramatic landscapes to, as he later described it, “soft, mellow, and reposeful scenes.” The new style was strongly influenced by the Barbizon school, following Corot, but Munger added a recognizable American crispness to the style. His Barbizon paintings enjoyed considerable success in the French and English art markets and with the critics. He was recognized with medals from several European governments and his paintings were bought by the Royal Academy of London, the museums at Colberg, Berlin, Munich, Schwerin, Weimar, and Meininger, and the Luxembourg Art Gallery of Paris.

(Biographical information from Michael D. Schroeder’s comprehensive website on the Art of Gilbert Munger.)