Peter Baumgras (1827-1904)

Peter Baumgras (1827-1904). Portrait of a Girl, 1867. Oil on canvas 26 x 32 inches. Original frame of the period. Excellent condition. Signed and dated lower right.

Price on request


Birth place: Hamburg, Germany

Death place: Chicago, IL

Addresses: Syracuse, NY, 1853; Wash., DC, 1857; and Chicago, IL

Profession: Portrait and still-life painter, instructor

Studied: Düsseldorf and Munich, with Kaulbach, Schorn, 1846-52.

Exhibited: Washington Art Assoc., 1859-60; NAD, 1868; San Francisco, 1872, 1877; AIC, 1897, 1898, 1900; Boston AC, 1898

Member: Wash. AC (one of the founders in 1877; exec. committee); Society of Wash. Artists

Work: McLellan Lincoln Collection of Brown University (Lincoln portrait); Lincoln Museum at Ford’s Theater; Gallaudet University; NYHS; Oakland (CA) Museum; New Haven Colony Hist. Soc.; George Washington Univ.

Comments: He came to the U.S. in 1853. He was in Wash. DC in 1859, when he exhibited at the Wash. Art Assoc. Baumgras painted a portrait of Lincoln in 1865 and although he was primarily a portraitist, he also created flower and fruit paintings that have came to be highly regarded. He was active in Calif. from 1869-77 and fulfilled portrait commissions in Oregon during 1872-74. Baumgras was back in Washington (DC) 1900-1903, but returned to Chicago shortly before his death. He was an important teacher as well. Among his students (in 1863) was E.C. Messer, who became one of D.C.’s most prominent painters and teachers. Instr., drawing, Columbia Inst. for the Instruction of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind (now Gallaudet Univ. and the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School), 1864-1872; Univ. of Illinois in 1877-79.

Sources: G&W; Pratt, A Forgotten American Painter: Peter Baumgras (citation courtesy of Mary Bartlett Cowdrey); Art Annual, V (1905-06), 118, obit.; Washington Art Assoc. Cat., 1859; Cowdrey, NAD. More recently, see McMahan, Artists of Washington, D.C.; WW04; Hughes, Artists in California, 39; The Boston Art Club.