Christian J. Walter (1872 - 1938)
Though American Impressionist painter Christian Jacob Walter would obtain a significant level of professional success and notoriety, he would never stray far from his hometown area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His subject matter would primarily be landscapes and industrial scenes of laborers in local industries. He was fond of the entire Pittsburgh region, including the rural landscape and mountains of western Pennsylvania and nearby Ohio. He would also make some painting excursions to Florida.
Walter never received any formal art training, but had been interested in painting since he was a young boy. Most of his technique developed from heavy observation and examination of the major art shows in the Pittsburgh area. By the age of twenty-four his works would be included in the first Carnegie International Exhibition. He would become a key figure in the Pittsburgh arts scene; serving as President of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh from 1922 until his death in 1938, organizing the Art Brotherhood of Pittsburgh, and from 1936 to 1938 he directed the local division of the Federal Art Project.
Many of his later, large scale paintings are considered a combination of the Impressionist and American Precisionist schools, though his long-term friendship with illustrator and Impressionist painter George Luks is also noted for its influence on Walter's works, particularly because both men favored the urban setting and depictions of those who lived within them.
Walter's popularity extended far beyond Pittsburgh, and his paintings are in the collections of several large museums including the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland and the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association in Chicago, Illinois.