Gilbert Munger Biography | Oil Paintings

4-14-1837 Madison, Connecticut USA - 1-27-1903 Washington, D.C. USA

Munger, Gilbert

Gilbert Davis Munger manifested creative ability at an early age, so his family sent him to Washington, D.C. at the age of thirteen to study with William H. Dougal, who was then a senior engraver at the Smithsonian Institution. As a painter, however, he was largely self-trained and was inspired by reading the work of John Ruskin and studying the painters of the Hudson River School.

In 1869 Gilbert Munger joined Clarence King's famed Fortieth Parallel Survey as a guest artist. Munger's association with the expedition's scientists and with photographer Timothy H. O'Sullivan was a defining moment, instrumental in shaping him as one of a new generation of artists who began to paint the landscapes realistically instead of allegorically.

Between 1869 and 1875, Gilbert Munger made other trips around the far West, painting landscapes, especially volcanic mountains, in California, Oregon, and Washington. With Albert Bierstadt, he made a trip in 1872 to paint the infamous Donner Pass from his home base in San Francisco.

In 1877, Gilbert Munger moved to London where he lived for nine years and became a friend of John Millais. painting reproductions of his Western landscapes which were much in demand as well as scenes around London, Cornwall, and Scotland. Munger moved to Paris in 1886, he painted numerous landscapes along the Seine River and in the Barbizon region. At the urging of John Ruskin, he went to Venice where he painted some 50 canvases of the city, these are more vividly colored and looser in their brushwork than most of his earlier work. His life in Europe saw the height of Munger's success and fame, with some of his paintings selling for considerable sums in the $1000-$5000 range (equivalent to $25,000–$130,000 today).

After seven years in Paris, Gilbert Munger returned to New York in 1893, where he painted reproductions of his European paintings as well as new landscapes of areas around West Virginia, New York, and elsewhere. But, he was unable to match his European level of success, as he had fallen into relative obscurity in the USA. He preferred to sell his work by word of mouth and avoided the formal art-world institutions of the academy exhibitions or selling through art dealers and galleries, and never sent any works to America. So, when he returned to America after a 15-year absence, he was unable to count on the assistance of art dealers in reintroducing him to his home market.

Art Movement: Hudson River School.
Artists Influencing Gilbert Munger: John Ruskin.
He Traveled To England, France, Scotland, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Italy.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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