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( 1822–1900 )

William Louis Sonntag

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An important figure in the Hudson River School, William Sonntag created dramatic landscapes that extolled the grandeur of the American outdoors. Born near Pittsburgh, Sonntag undertook formal training at the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts under Godfrey Frankenstein in the 1840s. He subsequently established a studio in that city, in which he offered canvases featuring the beauty he discovered on painting excursions in the Ohio River Valley and neighboring countryside. It was from this gallery that Sonntag gained an important early commission, documenting landscapes along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad routes. He also collaborated with John C. Wolfe in creating panoramas depicting scenes from John Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

In the 1850s, Sonntag sojourned twice in Europe, traveling throughout the continent and studying for a year in Florence. Upon his return to the United States, he settled in New York City and expanded his repertoire to include visionary paintings of Roman ruins. Along with his stirring, masterful landscapes, these works brought Sonntag considerable commercial success. A member of the National Academy of Design for forty years, Sonntag exhibited at leading venues of the day, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Boston Art Club, Brooklyn Art Association, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


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1451 River Road · Yemassee, SC 29945 · 843.412.8738
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