The following information was submitted in September of 2006 by Jackie Heinl:
Austin C. Wooster, son of Dr. Henry Wooster and Rebecca Thornburg, was a southwestern Pennsylvania painter of portraits, landscapes, and still lifes from 1860 to 1916. His great-grandfather, Thomas Thornburg, was a member of the Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War. He was born on the Thornburg farm in Chartiers Valley, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This is now part of a town called Thornburg. Austin's grandparents, Jacob and Jane Lorain Thornburg, who raised him after the early death of his parents, discouraged his art, looking on it as an insane fancy or crime, rather than as a gift.
Wooster lived in Green Tree (then called Union Township), Allegheny County, Pennsylvania where he earned his living as an artist and did occasional work at house painting. Wooster had a studio in Pittsburgh at Fourth Avenue and Wood Street. He exhibited his work in various ways, including the 1890 Western Pennsylvania Exposition Society, and Pittsburgh department stores, where he sold his work. Wooster also did work for hire; painting houses, farms, and vineyards in neighboring communities. According to two of Wooster's neighbors he did portraits, and he gave lessons in watercolor to at least one young girl, also a neighbor.
During the Civil War, he served with the Union Army, was captured and held at Libby Prison. Except for that episode, he is thought to have lived and worked exclusively in the Pittsburgh region. Earlier in his career, he specialized in river landscapes but later turned to still lifes where he utilized many of the stylistic and compositional devices as Albert F. King, and artist Wooster obviously admired and possibly even studied with. Wooster's still lifes are painted in a somewhat out-dated style for his time, usually simple, almost flat arrangements instead of the trompe l'oeil effects and elaborate compositions which were popular at the turn of the century.