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 Frederick Carl Gottwald  (1858/1860 - 1941)

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Lived/Active: Ohio/California      Known for: landscape, genre-waterfront paintings

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Ad Code: 3
Frederick Carl Gottwald
from Auction House Records.
Gloucester Harbor
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:


Gottwald, originally from Vienna, where he was born on 15 August 1858, would become the leading impressionist painter in Cleveland, Ohio.  As a four year-old, Frederick came to America with his parents.  To begin, his teacher was Archibald Willard (1836-1918), the first president of the Cleveland Art Club, founded in 1876.  Willard’s claim to fame was the icon of American history known as The Spirit of ‘76, the painting first known as Yankee Doodle.  The original hangs in Marblehead, Massachusetts’ Abbot Hall.  Gottwald continued his studies in New York under William Merritt Chase, then in Munich (1882-85).  Back in Cleveland, he was appointed instructor at the Cleveland School of Art where he would teach until 1926.  In 1893, Gottwald was one of the founders of the Brush and Palette Club.  He was also a leader of the Cleveland Society of Artists, founded in 1907.

Gottwald exhibited his paintings mainly in Cleveland after making his debut at the National Academy of Design in 1892 (he exhibited there only through 1898).  At the Boston Art Club Gottwald submitted Market in Quebec in 1896.  The painter kept a foot in the Old World, but not in his native Austria, as one might suspect.  Instead, he spent summers in the Netherlands (1896-1904) and in Italy (1907-15).  Gottwald helped to spread America’s “Holland mania” by bringing back props and costumes to be used by Cleveland Institute of Art students.  As Stott (1998, p. 41) explains in Holland Mania, “by these methods . . . many ‘Dutch’ paintings were produced in the United States for the ever-growing market.”  Gottwald dropped the dark Dutch manner for a more modern, sun-filled palette.  Keny and Maciejunes (1994, p. 32) see the influence of Maurice Prendergast in the decorative quality, the flattening of space, and the rich use of impasto pigment.

In 1926, when Gottwald retired from teaching, the trustees of the Cleveland School of Art proclaimed: “The influence of Mr. Gottwald in the development of Cleveland as an art center is simply immeasurable.  There is hardly an artist or craftsman of reputation in the city that has not at one time or another studied with him in day or evening classes. . . .  He leaves his teaching at the very height of his powers, to devote himself to landscape painting.” (quoted by Edna Clark, 1932, p. 341). Gottwald died in Pasadena, California, on 23 June 1941.

Clark, Edna Maria. Ohio Art and Artists. Richmond, VA: Garrett, and Massie, 1932, p. 341, 343; Gerdts, William H. Art across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710-1920. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990, vol. 2, pp. 220-221; Sackerlotzky, Rotraud and Mary Sayre Haverstock, F.C. Gottwald and the Old Bohemians. Exh. cat. Cleveland Artists Foundation, 1993; Keny, James M. and Nannette V. Maciejunes, Triumph of Color and Light: Ohio Impressionists. Columbus, OH: Columbus Museum of Art, 1994, pp. 32, 61, 110-111.

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

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Frederick C. Gottwald, born in 1858, was a respected art critic and a successful artist. From 1885 to 1926, he was an instructor at the Cleveland School of Art. It has been said that Gottwald, "contributed more than any other person to Cleveland's artistic development."

Gottwald received his art training at the Royal Academy in Munich receiving honors and often painted in Holland and Italy during the summer.

Sackerlotzky, R. "Cleveland's 'Old Bohemians' and Cleveland Artists Foundation Symposium" American Art Review

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 Vienna, Austria on Aug. 15, 1860, Gottwald studied at the Royal Academy of Munich and ASL of NYC.  He taught for many years at the Cleveland (OH) School of Arts before retiring to Pasadena about 1935.  He died there on June 22, 1941.

In: Cleveland Museum.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1940.
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 Massillon Museum:

Frederick Gottwald (1858-1941)

Born in Vienna, Austria, in either 1858 or 1860, Frederick Gottwald became an influential Cleveland artist and teacher.  He moved to Cleveland as an infant.  His first formal instruction resulted from the encouragement of his friend, Otto Bacher, to enlist in the drawing class taught by Archibald M. Willard at the Art Academy in 1875.  The next year he helped start the Art Club in Cleveland.  He left Cleveland for the Art Students League in New York in 1881 and then Munich in 1882.  He also studied at Cooper Union in New York and at the Académie Julian in Paris in the early 1880s. 

Gottwald returned to Cleveland by 1885 and began his illustrious career in the local art community.  He taught at the Cleveland School of Art until 1926, a career of more than 40 years.  His students included noted artists Charles Burchfield, Abel Warshawsky, and Frank Wilcox.  Like other art instructors, Gottwald used his summers to travel and paint, primarily to Holland and Italy.  Cleveland remained Gottwald’s main exhibition focus, although he did exhibit his work in New York, Boston, and Chicago.  He helped found the Brush and Palette Club, whose exhibitions ended in 1905, and he also actively served in the Cleveland Society of Artists, which was founded in 1907.  Gottwald retired from teaching in 1926, and moved to California in 1932.

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