Ad Code: 3
from Auction House Records.
Tatanka Iyotake, Sitting Bull
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:|
|Born in Solingen, Germany in 1855. Cronau was sent to the U.S. by German publishers to illustrate and write articles. He was active in southern California in 1882.|
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America (Groce, George C. and David H. Wallace); NY Times, 10-28-1939 (obituary).
|Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.|
|Biography from Gerald Peters Gallery:|
|The following is from Gerold Wunderlich, Director of the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York:|
"Attached is a copy of the into for my first Rudolf Cronau catalog, Rudolf Cronau, Topographical Views of America
in Solingen, Germany, in 1855, Rudolf Cronau was considered by his
peers to be one of the foremost "Special Correspondents" of his
day. After studying at the famous Dusseldorf Academy, principally
under Andreas Muller and later with Andreas Achenbach, Cronau traveled
to Leipzig, the then leading cultural and publishing center among the
German States. Two of its most influential newspapers, Das Illustrirte Zeitung and Die Gartenlaube, the latter a weekly newspaper much like Harper's Weekly or Leslie's
in New York, employed him as both a writer and an illustrator.
For much of the next decade, Cronau contributed to both newspapers.
Each published numerous articles by the artist accompanied by his
highly descriptive illustrations.
In addition, Cronau wrote several books on his travels.
equipped with many letters of introduction by influential members of
German society and government, Cronau set sail for America on January
1, 1881. He was on special assignment for Die Gartenlaube,
a family oriented publication, in which he was to "describe and depict
all those natural wonders which had been discovered in the far west of
the United States during the first part of the 19th century." The
principal purpose of the trip was to have Cronau both illustrate and
give a written account of all scenes considered unusual to the German
public. His findings were to appear in a series of articles under
the headline, "Um die Erde."
As originally conceived, the trip
was to encompass the east coast of America, as well as the Far West and
"Indian Territories." Thereafter, he was to continue on to South
America, the South seas, China, India, and the Middle East before
returning home. Illness, however, significantly decreased the length of
his trip and Cronau was unable to venture beyond American soil.
his first three months in the United States, Cronau visited several
important eastern cities, including New York, Baltimore, and
Washington. Each city had a character all its own. He was
fascinated by the vitality and milieu of the thriving city of New York,
as can be seen in his works Park Place and the Great East River or
Brooklyn Bridge. However, it was in the cities of Baltimore and
Washington that his most important contacts were made, that is, those
that would determine the future and course of his journey.
Baltimore, Cronau made the acquaintance of Captain Paul Boyton. Boyton
invited the artist-correspondent to accompany him on a "grand tour" of
the Mississippi River. The Captain, who had developed a prototype of
the wet-suit, had spent several years demonstrating it by swimming down
various rivers throughout the world. It was Cronau's
introduction, while in Washington, to the Secretary of the Interior,
Carl Schutz, that provided him with a pass to enter the Indian
reservations of the Far West. This privilege bestowed upon the artist
gave him the opportunity to see and pictorially record Native Americans
in their own setting.
Undoubtedly, Cronau traveled by rail to
Minneapolis during the spring of 1881. His several portrayals of
mid-western and southern cities, including Little Rock, Arkansas,
Chicago and Milwaukee, are sound indications that he visited other
locales prior to his arrival in Minneapolis. On May 29th, Cronau
and Boyton began their 1,200 mile descent down the Mississippi River to
Cairo, Illinois. With much fanfare, Boyton, prepared to display
his latest invention, jumped into the water of the Mississippi and the
The sights were spectacular and Cronau made the
most of his time by completing numerous pen and ink studies. Of
particular significance, is the drawing Eagle Point, Dubuque, Iowa, in
which Boyton is seen paddling down the Mississippi River in his rubber
swimming outfit. He is closely followed by Cronau and a guide in
a small rowboat, the former actively sketching the local scenery.
The adventure ended on the 20th of June in Cairo.
Louis, Cronau traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation and Fort
Randall, where he met Sitting Bull and several other Indian
dignitaries. After a lengthy stay, he continued to explore the
West, documenting its many sights, including the Badlands, Yellowstone
Park, and the South West, specifically Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
He finally moved on to the west coast, where his encounter with San
Francisco's duel cultures, American and Chinese, proved to be an
experience worthy of artistic attention.
When Cronau returned to
the East in the winter of 1881-82, he spent time exploring and
recording the swamplands of both Florida and Louisiana. He then
made a second trip out West the following summer and subsequent fall.
He traveled to California, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming,
Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico, where he composed elaborate
illustrations of the wilderness. During this trip, Cronau wrote
and illustrated a total of twelve articles for "Die Gartenlaube."
late 1882, Cronau returned to Germany due to an illness. For several of
the years that ensued, he wrote about his American adventures. Cronau's
drawings served to illustrate a number of his travel books including:
Fahrten Im Lande Der Sioux
Im Wilden Westen
Von Wunderland zu Wunderland, a large portfolio containing first
rate collotype reproductions of Cronau's most interesting drawings,
each accompanied by a descriptive text.
Cronau drew in an
unusual, German Romantic style. His work exhibited extraordinary
draftsmanship, a product of him having been trained at the Dusseldorf
Academy, as well as an indelible accuracy, and a masterful use of light
and shade that added mystery to his compositions. The majority of
Cronau's drawings were made from life as a result of direct
observation. They reveal, through the eyes of an outside
observer, the expansion and development of the America. During a
trip to South America in the early 1890s, Cronau once again produced a
collection of unusual illustrations for publication.
Rudolf Cronau was a foreign correspondent for the German press
stationed in Washington, DC. Within a couple of years, however, he had
a falling out with his publishers over international politics and
decided to pursue a career as a free lance writer in New York.
became a United States citizen in 1900. He continued publishing
books and was a featured contributor to the then thriving
German-American press. Despite his extensive involvement in the
literary world, he never lost sight of the first hand knowledge he
gained while traversing the Western frontier and always looked back at
his trips through the American West as the zenith of his career.
Gerold M. Wunderlich
|Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:|
|One of the most notable artist-authors of his time, Rudolf Cronau was born in Solingen, Prussia. From 1870 to 1871, he studied at the Düsseldorf Academy with Andreas Muller and Andreas Achenbach. He moved to Leipzig in 1877 and began working for Die Illustrierte Zeitung, a daily newspaper, and Die Gartenlaube. The latter, a weekly publication, dispatched Cronau to America in 1881 to produce topographical views and articles documenting city and rural life, industry, nature, and landmarks. |
Cronau began this assignment in New York, Washington, and Baltimore before traveling to the Midwest along the Mississippi River. He spent time in Florida and Louisiana and, by 1882, was active throughout the West, including San Francisco, where he documented Chinese-American culture. From these excursions, Cronau produced numerous picturesque landscape and genre sketches of American scenery, life, and work. At Fort Randall in the Dakotas, he sketched Native American chiefs, including the first life portrait of the Sioux leader Sitting Bull.
Published in Leipzig in the 1880s and 1890s, Cronau’s travel portfolios featured his descriptive essays accompanied by print illustrations made from the original drawings. During 1890 and 1891, the artist was again itinerant in the United States, Mexico, and South America, when he sketched this unidentified South Carolina cotton plantation. These travels culminated in the publication of his two-volume folio edition, Amerika (1892), commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the new world.
A Cotton Plantation in South Carolina is rendered in the detailed and precise topographical style that characterizes much of Cronau’s work. He has created a scene that compresses various aspects of plantation life at the turn of the century, focusing on workers in the field and at the cotton gin. Using a typical picturesque motif, he flanks the composition with the twisted, barren tree overhung with Spanish moss. In the background, a railroad passes on the land, as steamboats ply the river beyond. The plantation mansion and other buildings are situated on a rise in the landscape, under the lush shade of trees, a quiet, stately contrast to the industry of African Americans harvesting cotton in the sun. Drawing on his classical academic training, Cronau employs a defining pen line and washes to create interest in the plantings of cotton, figures, and other landscape elements.
This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the Hicklin Galleries, LLC.
|Biography from Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery Santa FeTucson:|
|Rudolf Cronau was a writer and illustrator, best known for illustrated books of his travels in the American West.|
Cronau was born in Solingen, Germany and studied at the Royal Academy in Dusseldorf under Andreas Muller and Andreas Achenbach. He went to work in Leipzig as both writer and illustrator for two popular newspapers. In 1881 the paper, Die Gartenlaube, sent him on an extended journey through the Americas to report on natural wonders that the German public would find strange, exotic, and fascinating. He started with articles on New York, Baltimore and Washington, and then headed to Minneapolis where he began a journey down the Mississippi River to Cairo, Illinois.
His next excursion brought Cronau to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Dakota Territory where he met Sitting Bull and other Native leaders. After an extended stay in the northern plains, he continued on to Yellowstone Park, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. He returned to the East in the winter of 1881-82 exploring Florida and Louisiana. The following summer and fall, Cronau made his second trip to the West, covering an enormous amount of territory, presumably by train, from Oregon to Texas. During this trip he created twelve articles for Die Gartenlaube.
Cronau was to have continued on to South America, but health problems forced his return to Germany late in 1882. Over the next few years he wrote and illustrated three travel books, Fahrten im Lande Der Sioux, Im Wilden Westen, and Von Wunderland zu Wunderland. The latter contained 50 collotype reproductions of his drawings from across America.
Most of Cronau's work is in pencil or ink, sometimes enhanced with watercolor. He probably also did watercolor sketches. All of his drawings are carefully detailed and finely rendered in a style that clearly shows the influence of his training in the German Romantic tradition at the Royal Academy.
About 1894, Cronau returned to the United States as a foreign correspondent based in Washington, D.C. After a falling out with his employers, he worked as a free-lance writer in New York. Cronau became an American citizen in 1900. He continued to write magazine articles and books throughout the rest of his life. Most of his books are studies in German-American history.
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