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Signed, Dated, Oil on Canvas, 3' x 4',Restored by Simon Parkes
SORRY SOLD--A Museum Got It !
Landscape Giant
William Louis Sonntag Sr.
'Ohio Wilderness'
Painted for the Fiftieth Anniversary of Ohio Statehood!
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.  The artist
combined his railroad painting trip with his honeymoon. 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 Art Union 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. 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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