William Louis Sonntag Sr. (1822 - 1900)
A mostly self-taught painter, William Louis Sonntag, Sr. would be recognized for the Hudson River School influences on his romanticized landscapes of scenes from Europe to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
It is believed that Sonntag received a brief bit of training at the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts under Godfrey Frankenstein, and from the 1840s until the middle of the 1850s he made many painting excursions in the Ohio River Valley and areas of Kentucky and West Virginia. He also worked on a panorama with John C. Wolfe before traveling to Europe in 1857. Upon his return he continued to exhibit widely and quickly earned a good reputation.
By the 1860s he was well known for his Thomas Cole inspired landscapes, and his use of the sky, water and earth to great effect. He was made a member of the National Academy of Design in 1861 as well as several other important organizations.
His works are in the collections of dozens of museums, including the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, the New York Historical Society and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.