Early commercial success allowed landscape painter Herrmann Ottomar Herzog to travel widely and paint the rugged natural scenes he loved so much. His earliest patrons included royal heads of state and European nobility.
He had taken a formal art education at the Dusseldorf Academy beginning in 1848. He trained primarily under landscape Masters, and by 1855 made his first painting excursion to Norway where his relation to and sense of nature was immediately apparent.
For the next decade his fame increased, and his reputation for realism and atmosphere drove the demand for his work to a great intensity. Queen Victoria of England was one of his patrons at that time. In 1863 and 1864 he exhibited at the Paris Salon, winning an Honorable Mention. It was at this time that he also met several painters of the Barbizon school, whose dedication to capturing nature in a realistic style greatly impressed, and would influence Herzog's work.
By the late 1860s Herzog had decided to move to the United States, having several close friends in the Philadelphia area and having exhibited successfully at the Pennsylvania Academy from 1863 to 1869. He moved to the city and continued his wilderness and landscape paintings. He journeyed up the Hudson River and then in 1873 headed into the American West, visiting Yosemite in California then Wyoming, Oregon and Coronado Island near Mexico. He continued his western travels becoming enamored with the wilderness and the affects he was successfully capturing on his canvases. His final journey into the region was in 1905, when Herzog was seventy four years old.
Herzog would continue to work right up until his one hundredth year, when he participated in an exhibition with his son, Herman. Upon his death he left over one thousand completed works for his heirs. His wise investment in the Pennsylvania Railroad meant that he was never pressured to sell a painting throughout most of his career.
His paintings are in the collections of some of the world's largest museums including the National Museum in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Reading Museum in Pennsylvania.