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 Walter Koeniger  (1881 - 1943)

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Lived/Active: New York / Germany      Known for: snowscene painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Walter Koeniger
Facts/Data
Birth
1881 (Germany)
 
Death
1943 (Woodstock, New York)

Lived/Active
New York / Germany

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snowscene painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

WALTER KOENIGER

Known as “the Painter of Snow,” Walter Koeniger was the son of an architect, born in Germany on May 6, 1881.  From architecture, Walter turned to painting, while still in Germany.  He studied under Eugene Gustav Dücker (1841-1916) and Eduard Karl Franz Gebhardt (1838-1925) at the Düsseldorf Academy.  Dücker studied at the Imperial Art Academy of St. Petersburg and was influenced by Russian realism.  Gebhardt, also a student in St. Petersburg, developed more into a genre and history painter.  Around 1912, Koeniger settled in Woodstock, New York, where he abandoned Dücker’s crisp, photographic realism for a more painterly, expressive technique.  He concentrated on capturing the fleeting moods of nature during a period when the winter scene genre was rapidly rising in popularity.

Koeniger focused on views of the Catskill Mountains and wooded areas around Woodstock and Saugerties.  He painted in broad, large strokes, rendering brilliant sunlight and glowing color harmonies, soft gradations of color in the sky, streams and forests.  For G. Frank Muller (1925), Koeniger attempted “to convey to the beholder the rapture he experiences before nature at her best.  Koeniger seizes the delight of woodland beauties and passes it on for our enjoyment.”  The artist adapted the blue and purple shadows of the impressionist aesthetic.  Reportedly, Koeniger would delay the completion of a painting until the setting sun would add the proper tint of orange to the scene.

Vose Galleries featured Koeniger’s works in December of 1926.  That year he began to exhibit his landscapes at the National Academy of Design where he returned in 1929, 1930, and 1931.  His activities at Woodstock (where he died in 1943) are not well known; apparently he was not involved with the artists’ colony there.  Koeniger was a member of the Salmagundi Club.

Sources:
Muller, G. Frank, “Koeniger, Painter of Snow,” International Studio 81 (June 1925): 210-215; Zellman, Michael David, 300 Years of American Art. Secaucus, NJ: Wellfleet Press, 1987, p. 773.

Submitted by Richard H. Love and Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for his paintings of snow-covered landscapes, Walter Koeniger lived most of his life in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. He spent his thirty-year career sketching and painting frozen water scenes around his home.

Little is known of him before he began painting in the United States except that he was born in Germany and showed early art talent, but his parents directed him towards architecture. No record has been found if he had architecture training, but he studied painting under Duecker and von Gebhard.

He arrived in America around 1910 and became a part of the Woodstock, New York artists' colony in 1912. He was not committed to any style but painted what he saw in a way that combined realism with impressionistic application of vigorous, broad brushstrokes. A plein-air painter, even in winter, he used fresh, glowing colors to convey the crisp, vigorous mood of his settings. His works was popular and was sometimes used on the covers of "Literary Digest." Later in his life, he kept a studio in New York City as well as Woodstock, and he painted until the time of his death in 1943.

Source: David Michael Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"

Biography from Williams American Art Galleries:
Known as “the Painter of Snow,” Walter Koeniger was the son of an architect, born in Germany in 1881.  From architecture, Walter turned to painting, while still in Germany.   He studied under Eugene Gustav Dücker and Eduard Karl Franz Gebhardt at the Düsseldorf Academy.

Koeniger immigrated to the United States around 1910 and settled in Woodstock, New York in 1912, where he abandoned his earlier style of photographic realism in favor of a more painterly, expressive technique.  He concentrated on capturing the fleeting moods of nature during a period when the winter scene genre was rapidly rising in popularity.  Koeniger focused on views of the Catskill Mountains and wooded areas around Woodstock and Saugerties.

His activities at Woodstock (where he died in 1943) are not well known; apparently he was not involved with the artists’ colony there.  He painted in broad, large strokes, rendering brilliant sunlight and glowing color harmonies, soft gradations on color in the sky, streams and forests.  The artist adapted the blue and purple shadows of the impressionist aesthetic. A plein-air painter, even in winter, Koeniger would reportedly delay the completion of a painting until the setting sun would add the proper tint of orange to the scene.   One historian said Koeniger had a “passion” for “frozen, snow-covered scenes of winter.”  His work was popular and was sometimes used on the covers of Literary Digest.  Later in his career, Koeniger maintained studios in both Woodstock and New York City.

Studied                               
Düsseldorf Academy with Dücker and Gebhardt               
                               
Member                               
Salmagundi Club                           
                               
Exhibited                               
National Academy of Design, 1926, 1929, 1930, 1931
Vose Galleries, Boston, 1926

Work
Arizona State University Art Museum
University of Arizona Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
Springville Museum of Art, Springville, UT
Delval Fine Arts Consortium, Lansdale, PA
Toledo Museum of Art

References
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975
Mallett, Index of Artists, International–Biographical
McCann, Master Pieces, The Art of Jigsaw Puzzles
Opitz (ed.), Mantle Fielding’s Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers
Rodriguez Roque, Directions in American Painting 1875–1925
Shipp, American Art Colonies 1850–1930, A Guide to Original Art Colonies and Their Artists
Springville Museum of Art, Permanent Collections Catalog of Springville Museum of Art
Creps, Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers of the U. S.
Dunbier (ed.), The Artists Bluebook: 34,000 North American Artists to March 2005
Falk (ed.), Annual Exhibition Record, National Academy of Design 1901-1950
Falk, Dictionary of Signatures & Monograms
Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art: Artists Active Between 1898-1947
Bermingham and Deeds, Paintings and Sculpture in the Permanent Collection
Springville Museum of Art, Permanent Collection Catalogue, Springville Museum of Art
Muller, “Koeniger, Painter of Snow,” International Studio 81, June 1925


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