Period 7: Establishment in Europe - London
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|1877||Munger goes to Europe. [Colburn's, p.661] The letter in the next entry suggests that he arrived there before August.|
|1877 August||Munger travels from London to the Scottish Highlands to paint. [See entry for 1877 Dec 25]|
|1877 Dec 25||"
15 New Cavnedish St.
Portland Place London W.
December 25th, 1877
My dear Emmons
When I left London four months ago for the Highlands I had no definite plans as to a permanent abode, consequently did not write at the time of departure. After doing the Highlands as a "tourist" in order to find out for myself all the nice places for painting, I settled down at Dunkeld with J. E. Millais, the leading English artist and we worked there together for two months. it always rains in Scotland so we built two small houses of wood seven feet square to paint in. A large plate glass window in the side looking towards the view to be painted, and a skylight roof to be in the light on the picture, and in this manner we are able to work in the drenching rain. these houses are easily taken apart and changed from one location to another, or packed away for next season. I have adopted the plan of working in these houses upon large canvases & and finish the picture entire from nature, and have already sold a part of my summer's work, besides receiving more orders for my American scenery, and am very busy upon them at my old quarters in London, having returned about three weeks ago. Millais in now one of my best friends in London and has more influence than any other artist here. He lives in splendid style owns the house in which he lives close to Hyde Park S. Kensington which is almost palatial. he gives swell entertainments to the Dukes & Lords, and make £20,000 per year they say. he has taken a great fancy to me for some reason, I cannot tell why, and altogether I consider it a piece of great luck in meeting this gentleman.
London is pleasant even at this time of year for the workers are here, distinguished men whom it is a pleasure to meet. I am getting into quite a literary circle by degrees, and already feel more comfortable here than I did in New York. I dined a few evenings since with Dr. Schleimann (sic), who has been digging up Troy, and expects to dig up the whole world before he gets through.
I have never been so thoroughly happy as I am here. have given up smoking cigars & pipes and am doing "my level best-" And I trust my many friends in America will here (sic) good accounts of me in the future.
With kindest-regards to yourself & Mrs. Emmons, and wishing you a very Happy New Year,
I am ever Yours Gilbert Munger
[Vertically on the left side of the final page] Both of your letters came safely and I shall write again as soon as I have anything of interest to communicate." [GS - Emmons]
|1877||Munger spends the autumn at Dunkeld Scotland with artist Sir John Everett Millais. [Colburn's, p.661]|
|1877||Gilbert Munger is NOT mentioned in the London Art Journal for this year.|
|1878 Jul 22||"St. Paul may well be proud to claim this talented young artist, as he is rapidly developing into one of the recognized masters of the art of painting. For some time past, Mr. Munger has been at work in London, where he has established a studio, and has painted some very fine American landscapes for noble connoisseurs. He is now visiting Paris, and was recently one of a party of four who partook of the hospitality of Stanley, the African explorer, at a dinner party." [IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.4]|
|1878||Publication of Systematic Geology by Clarence King, volume 1 (but one of the last volumes published) of the report of the Geological Survey of the 40th Parallel, in which all chromolithographs are "based on sketches by Gilbert Munger".|
|1878||Munger spends the "season" at Skye, Stornoway, Loch Maree, and Dunkeld. [Colburn's, p.661]|
|1879 May 19||"American Artists at the Royal Academy.
London Correspondence of the N.Y. Herald.
I saw many American faces, and certainly America has many reasons to congratulate Itself upon the success they year of its representatives to the London world of art. ... Gilbert Munger, a New York artist, has had three pictures accepted at the first time of asking. Two of them were painted in Scotland, where Mr. Munger has spent the past two summers, and the other is a picture of Great Salt Lake and the Wahsatch mountains, and is a striking and effective representation of a scene familiar to travelers in the far west. Lock Maree is a place famous at present, because the Queen visited it two years ago. Mr. Munger painted it just after a storm, and has caught perfectly the beautiful rainbow and the sun struggling for supremacy. The best of Munger's three pictures, however, is "Loch Coruisk", which the committee has hung in the centre of the second room, over one of Long's great eastern pieces, which is the chief object of this section. Coruisk is one of the famous lakes of Skye. The picture is dark and somber, for the sun has set, though its light is in the sky and casts its reflection upon the mountains which surround the water. The lake itself is in the shadow, quiet and solemn, and the whole picture presents a sad and beautiful refrain. ..." [The North American (Philadelphia)]
|1879 Jun 10||"Views and Notes -- There are said to be only three artists in Europe who etch directly from nature on the copper plate. Two of them are Americans, Gilbert Munger and James Whistler." [Davenport (Iowa) Daily Gazette, p.2]|
|1879 Jun 20||"Mr. Gilbert Munger, an American artist living in London, has recently been making some exquisite etchings of the older parts of the city, such as Fournham Court, where 'Ruth Pinch' used to meet her Tom, and the inns of court in general. The Burlington Fine Arts Society has taken Mr. Munger up, and he is now overwhelmed with orders for etchings. ... The etchings are sold at high prices, yet secure a very large sale." [AH - Boston Evening Transcript, p.3, c.2]|
|1879 Jul 18||"Mr. Gilbert Munger, an American artist, has been commissioned by the Fine Art Society in London to make a series of etchings of the picturesque nooks and old buildings of the inns of Court, which are about to give place to modern improvements." [AH - Boston Evening Transcript, p.8, c.6]|
|1879 Oct 16||"IN HONOR OF GRANT – Senator Wm. Sharon’s Reception to the Ex-President [From the San Francisco Chronicle] ... In respect to the number of its rooms, the Belmont mansion of Senator Sharon is the most extensive private residence in California and one of the most complete in the United States. ... The pictures on Senator Sharon’s walls are none of them world-famous, but not a few of them are strikingly original and more than one of them is a gem. Over the first landing of the grand stairway hangs Gilbert Munger’s 'Minnehaha', a marvelous likeness of the lovely fall. ... " [St. Louis Globe-Democrat] Sen. Sharon's mansion was Ralston Hall. After William Chapman Ralston's death in 1875, the estate passed to his former partner, United States Senator William Sharon, whose family lived in the house until his death in 1885. Visitors during these years included former President Ulysses S. Grant in 1879.|
|1879||Munger exhibits eight paintings as follows: at the Royal Academy No. 101 Loch Coruisk, No. 114 Loch Maree, and No. 593 Great Salt Lake, Mormon City, and Wahsatch Mountains; at Manchester A Glimpse of the Pacific and Loch Coruisk; at Newcastle-on-Tyne Woodland Streams and Herring Fleet; and at Liverpool Great Salt Lake. Of these seven were sold. [Colburn's, p.661]|
|1879||"THE ROYAL ACADEMY - This year's exhibition of the Royal Academy is, in the language of London newspaper criticism, 'up to the average.' ... Mr. Gilbert Munger contributes three landscapes: Loch Coruisk, a characteristic view of the sombre and lonely lake of this name in the Isle of Skye; Lock Maree, another piece of Scottish scenery, set about with bold grey rocks and purple heather; and a view of the Great Salt Lake and Wahsatch Mountains, doubtless familiar enough to most American travelers." [The Art Journal for 1879, Vol 5, No. 7, New York: D. Appleton & Co., Publishers, p.219]|
|1879||Munger, of 6 William St, Lowndes Square, London, exhibits three paintings at the Royal Academy: Loch Coruisk; Loch Maree; and Great Salt Lake, Mormon City, and Wahsatch Mountains. [Graves, p.325]|
|1880 Mar 9||"Gilbert Munger, the American artist, has had a new series of successes in London. He has sold his six large paintings, which were recently exhibited in provincial exhibitions, and is now sketching in Cornwall." [MM - Boston Daily Evening Transcript, p.6, c.3]|
|1880 Apr 14||"THE STUDIOS OF LONDON
A BUSY WEEK FOR THE ART WORLD.
preparing for the royal academy and
the grosvenor gallery exhibitions
-- what the leading artists will
have to show a promising list.
London, March 31. A trying week for painters, for patrons, and for artists' friends. All intending exhibitors at the Royal Academy, outside the privileged body of associates and academicians, must send their works to Burlington House to-day or to-morrow.
There were here (in Fitzroy-street) also two fine examples of genre painting. Mr. Gilbert Munger must be called a foreigner. I suppose in the sense that he is not an Englishman, but is a citizen of the United States. He has a studio not far from DePrades (another artist on Fitzroy-street), and I was glad to find him playing the showman to many visitors. Munger is 'getting along' well in London. Last year he was represented on the Academy walls by three landscapes. This year he will submit to the Burlington House committee a similar number, the result of four months' work during the past Winter on the coast of Cornwall. One of these is especially notable. It is close, almost photographic, representation of a rock standing out in a wide stretch of rippling sea. The fidelity of the great stone portrait does not detract from the general breadth of the pictorial effect. It is in striking contrast to the dreamy sketch of a bit of country near Utah, which I hope Mr. Munger will send to the Academy along with his Cornish pictures." [JM, New York Times, p.2]
|1880||The Fine Art Society of Bond Street, London, is successfully publishing Munger's etchings. [Colburn's, p.662]|
|1880||Munger, of 6 William St, Lowndes Square, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Hibernian Academy: Loch Coruisk, Skye. It is priced at 60 BRP. [Stewart, p.311]|
|1880||Munger, of 11 Fitzroy St, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Academy: No. 593 King Arthur's Castle, Tintagel. [Graves, p.325]|
|1881 Apr 24||"The following from the London correspondent of a New York paper will be of interest to the many friends of the artist in this community: Last year the Royal academy hung two or three of Mr. Munger's pictures on the line. They were chiefly marine subjects. This year Mr. Munger went to the Upper Thames for new inspiration. He built a sort of miniature Noah's ark upon a small punt or raft, and was moored for many weeks at a notable point of the river above Henley-on-Thames between March Lock and Wargrave. Here he painted in "rain and shine" the period of the year selected being the last days of autumn, and he has brought to London one of the most striking landscapes I have seen during my two day's peregrinations. The canvas is large, and the subject fills it thoroughly. You stand as it were on the banks of the river at sunset. A few stray leaves are floating on the flood; a punt is moored mid stream, where two people are fishing; a "water hen" is making for the shore. You look down into nature's mirror and you see the reflected glories of wooded hill and clustering beeches, yellow with the gentle decay of the English Autumn, deepening by the reddish-gold of the declining sun. It is as if in these two blended colors "refined gold" was at last really 'gilded'. The middle point of the picture is a clump of beeches. They are tree portraits. I knew the locality well, and the selection of the spot for a picture shows how well Mr. Munger has studied the river. He has painted one or two other examples of "the silvery flood and its pastoral banks", but the autumn scene is his chief d'oeuvre. This American artist has only been in England four years during which time he has worked his way steadily to a foremost place among landscape painters. He trained in a grand school, face to face with nature in her broadest field, the mountain ranges and lake countries of California." [IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.5]|
|1881 May 21||"Considerable feeling is manifested in artistic circles in London over the exclusion from the Royal Academy this year of the pictures sent in by two members of the American colony in that city, ... Messrs. Gilbert Munger and Ernest Parton. Both these gentlemen had won such success in England that they had a right to expect a contrary result, especially as many paintings confessedly inferior in merit by other artists were admitted. The purchase of one of Mr. Parton's landscapes for the nation by the Academy last year, certainly established his position as an artist in British esteem, and led to the belief that his two pictures sent in this year would find a good place on the walls; and this belief was strengthened moreover by the fact that both were very superior examples of his style and skill. As for Mr. Munger's offerings, it appears that they were "accepted," and he was so notified; but for some cause, as yet unexplained, they were returned to him. The reason or reasons for this action on the part of the management cannot be divined, but it is supposed that professional jealousy and favoritism in various forms, are at the bottom of it. Fortunately the reputation of both gentlemen is so well established in the best circles in England that they cannot be injured by the treatment they have received, but it is none the less unjust and mortifying to them and their friends." [MM - The Evening Star (Washington DC), p.5]|
|1881 Jun 28||"FOREIGN NEWS AND GOSSIP
Gilbert Munger has taken a huge studio in the fashionable neighborhood of Grosvenor Square, in Brook street, London, and will soon open in connection with it a large gallery containing 70 or 80 of his most important pictures of American Scenery. Mr. Munger's collection of Rocky Mountain scenes is unique, and they will create a sensation in England. Visitors will be admitted to the gallery by card during the season." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
|1881 Jul 10||"The London Art Journal announces that: "Gilbert Munger has taken a huge studio in the fashionable neighborhood of Grosvenor square, in Brook Street London, and will soon open in connection with it a gallery containing seventy or eighty of the most important of his pictures of American scenery. Mr. Munger's collection of Rocky mountain scenes is unique and will create a sensation in England. ..." [IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.5]|
|1881 Jul 15||"
The sketching-grounds of America offer a
splendid field to the landscape painter and to
the artistic student of nature. Some day a great
European master will paint American scenery,
and a great English critic will proclaim the new
work. Then the Hudson and the Mississippi,
the lake shores of Erie and Michigan, the hills
of the Sacramento, the fir-clad heights of the
Alleghany Mountains, the picturesque pilot-boats
of New York, the clam-fishers on the flat reaches
of the Long Island coast, the tropical scenery of
the Southern States, the vast dream-like prairies
of the West, and the weird sierras of the "sunlands"
will inspire the genius of the Old World,
and give a new set of landscape studies and seapieces
to the galleries of Europe. The mountain lakes of
California present probably more
strangely beautiful aspects to the lover of nature
and to the out-door artist than any water-scenes
on this side of the Atlantic. Mr. Munger, an
American artist, who sojourned a year or two
among the Californian hills for the purpose of
painting them, took home a number of sketches
that might well tempt an enthusiast to pack up
his impedimenta and start for the West by the
next steamer. Yet these subjects are so new
and so unfamiliar to the European eye, that the
artist finds his chief reward in studies of better known
scenery. His English works are hung
upon the line at the Royal Academy, but he
keeps his Yosemite Valley pictures in his private
portfolio, hoping that some day he may repeat
in England an experiment which he made with
success at Boston, in the United States, namely,
the exhibition of them as a whole in a West-End
gallery. Mr. Munger travelled for some time
with the Geological Survey of California, one of
the results of which important expedition was
Mr. Clarence King s delightful book on "Mountaineering
in the Sierra Nevada". I have lying
before me while I write a pen-and-ink picture,
not from this work, but from a reliable source,
which at the moment I regret I cannot recall.
It was given to me by a Western traveller only
the other day. It will convey to the artist what
I mean about subjects for the pencil. It is a
sketch of one of the partially filled-up mountain
lakes of California. "The curving shore is
clearly traced by a ribbon of white sand upon
which the ripples play ; then comes a belt of
broad-leaved sedges, interrupted here and there
by impenetrable triangles of tall willows ; beyond
this groves of trembling aspen ; then a
diirk, shadowy belt of two-leaved pine, with here
and there a round convex meadow ensconced
nest-like in its rnidst ; and lastly a narrow outer
margin of majestic silver fir two hundred feet
high. The ground beneath the trees is covered
with a luxuriant crop of grasses, trilicum,
bromus, and calamagrostis, with purple spikes
and panicles reaching to one s shoulders, while
the open meadow patches glow throughout the
summer with showy flowers heleniums, gold
en-rods, lupines, castilleias, and lilies, forming
favorite hiding and feeding grounds for bears
Perhaps there is a deterrent suggestion in the mention of bears ; but Mr. Munger tells me he was never disturbed by wild animals of any kind. Sometimes he would have felt glad of such a relief from the awful solitudes in which he pitched his tent. Often he saw no living soul for weeks at a stretch, and his horse would often come to him from its feeding-ground and stand staring at him as if it too felt the solemnity of the magnificent stillness in the midst of which they were abiding together.
This sense of solitude seems to take a strange hold upon you in American woods and among American mountains. I have experienced it even in the railway cars when travelling through unoccupied wastes. The feeling has been intensified by the familiar sight at long distances of the solitary farmer s little family, a graveyard with its lonely tombstones. "Let us be silent" says Emerson, "that we may hear the whispers of the gods." The gods have little interruption in American solitudes. If they speak to man where silence most reigns supreme, they should be eloquent in an American forest, or on the shores of a mountain lake.
Says Mr. Munger, in the course of a conversation I had with him about his experiences in the Sierras, and his wanderings with the Government expedition: "There is nothing more extraordinary in the world than the group of extinct volcanoes, some of which I have painted. They begin with Mount Shasta, in the northern part of California, which rise 14400 feet above the sea, and contain a living glacier. Then you go on to Mount Hood, in Oregon, and to Jefferson and Adams and Reinier, in Washington Territory. The latter contains a living glacier twelve miles long and from one to four miles wide."
"I thought there were no remarkable living glaciers on the North American continent", I remarked, "and you speak of the most extensive ones I have ever heard of or read about."
"A few years ago," he replied, "scientists, I believe, declared that there were no living glaciers in the country we are discussing. I do not think the details in figures I am now giving you have ever been published ; but they are geological facts. The range of mountains with these groups of extinct volcanoes and living glaciers ends with Mount Baker at Puget Sound."
"One of your lake and mountain studies," I said, "gives remarkable detail of strata and foliage, although it must have been made many miles away from the subject. I know that the pure and rarefied air of these mountainous coun tries appears almost to annihilate distance. How far can you see on favorable days in the Sierras ?"
"I have seen a mountain by moonlight one hundred and fifty miles away, and, in the day, distinctly where he tree-line stops and the snow begins."
"Do not exaggerate even a mile or two in the exuberance of your imagination," I said, "for the other day, when I mentioned to some friends that at a Chicago fire-station they can receive an alarm of fire, harness their horses, learn where the fire is, and be on their way to the spot, fully equipped, in less than seventeen seconds, some friends of mine thought I was joking, whereas at the Pioneer engine-house they did all this in my presence in less than ten seconds, indeed while I was in the act of setting my stop-watch to time them."
"I will only give you simple, incontrovertible facts," said the traveller-artist. "A group of these extinct volcanoes can be seen with the na ked eye three hundred miles away. One of Mr. King's topographers measured the distance in my presence. The lake and mountain picture which you admired just now is a scene itself 6000 feet above the sea, and the mountain chain of which it forms part is 9000 feet high. The mountain rising up snow-capped is the Wahsatch, one of the most interesting formations in the world. Scientists say that it embraces nearly every prominent feature known in the wide field of geological study."
"The Wahsatch is near Salt Lake?"
"Yes ; if the town were put into my picture, it would seem almost part of the mountain, but it is seven miles away. Salt Lake City is situated in one of the most picturesque and impressive spots the world can show. Among the mountains and plains for months together you might sleep and take no harm in the open air, which is filled with the aromatic perfume of the pine forests." "
["To-day in America. Studies for the Old World and the New" by Joseph Hatton, Section IV: "Art and Authorship", part III, page 23; appeared as Franklin Square Library, Number 196, Harper & Brothers, New York.]
|1881||Munger, of 11 Fitzroy St, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Hibernian Academy: King Arthur's Castle, Tintagel It is priced at £130. [Stewart, p.311]|
|1881||From the 1881 census of England --
Dwelling: 11 Fitzroy St.
Census Place: London, Middlesex, England
Family History Library Film 1341041
PRO Ref. RG11
Piece / Folio: 0185 / 38
Page Number: 6
Richard GRIFFITHS, Head, M, Male, 63, Ireland, Costume Maker
Amy GRIFFITHS, Wife, M, Female, 34, Rutland, England, Costume Maker
Ellen JOHNS, Serv, U, Female, 27, London, Housemaid
Hannah DELLA, Serv, U, Female, 29, Royston, Hertford, Dom Servant
Gilbert Monger, Lodger, U, Male, 39, N S, America, Landscape Painter
Carlo F. Coscia, Lodger, U, Male, 44, Italy, Prof of Italian Lang
[Available at http://www.familysearch.org/] Thanks to Harold Bradley of Alamo CA for finding this item. He reports:
I'm not sure what the "N S" stands for in his listing -- perhaps "No State," although I understand he was born in Connecticut. The LDS online database lets you wander up and down the street and check the other households. I did this and discovered many other artists in the neighborhood, including three who appear to have become famous in their own right:
Next door at #13 Fitzroy Street -- Theodore Hines, 21, born Surrey, Artist. There was a landscape artist with the same name who painted in the Royal Berkshire villages and who exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists, and the Grosvenor Galleries. His brother, Frederick Hines, was also a noted landscape artist.
At #1 Fitzroy Street -- Edgar W. Hanley, 25, born London, Artist Painter. At the Cameo Auctioneers site, I found two framed oval watercolours signed Edgar Hanley. This may be the same man.
At #1 Fitzroy Street -- William Hatherell, 25, born Gloucester, Artist Painter. There was an artist with this name who did illustrations for Thomas Hardy novels, including "Jude the Obscure" and for the American magazines, Scribners and Century.
At #13 Fitzroy Street, I even found a 28-year-old woman named Emily L.H. Wallace who was a Teacher of Mesmerism. It was quite an interesting street!
|1882 Feb 27||
"ARTISTS AND THEIR WORK
Gossip about the painters and sculptors
-- The Society if Painters-Etchers of London has been very liberal in honoring American etchers. The following very varying workmen were elected members: James D. Smillie, Stephen Parrish, A. F. Bellows, F. S. Church, Otto Bacher, F. Duveneck, Kruseman van Elten, John M. Falconer, Henry Farrer, R. Swain Gifford, Thomas Moran, Mary Nimmo Moran his wife, and Gilbert Munger. Honors by wholesale miss the point. If the London society wishes the concurrence of these artists at the London exhibitions, it has done well for itself. But if the elections are in the way of honorary titles, the list is too long to make membership a distinction to be sought."
... [JM - New York Times, p.2]
|1882 Oct 22||"Mr. Gilbert Munger, the eminent artist, who is
highly esteemed by all the older residents of St. Paul, which city he calls
his home, writes from Venice a most interesting letter dated September 7th.
I have been here three months, hard at work upon a series of pictures, and shall return to Paris next week to do something near the forest of Fontainebleau. Thence I shall return to London. My life is a very busy one. I rise and breakfast at 5:30, then take my gondola and go to work. I am working twelve hours a day, which is too much for such a debilitating climate as that of Italy, and when I have moments to spare I study Italian, for it is necessary to speak the language, as English and French are little known. I have finished fifty pictures, and hope to return with sixty. Fortunately I have a large gallery to show them in and they may possibly be on exhibition in a Bond street gallery in the spring. I should much like to look in upon you, and also on my many good friends in St. Paul, but cannot spare time for so long a journey."[IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.12]
|1882 Nov||Twelve Munger paintings of Venice appear in a Fine Art Society exhibition in London: In Nelson Room - 103. The Dogana; 104. San Marco and Della Salute; 106. Venetian Sails; 110. Twilight, Del Saluta; 111. From the Garden; 112. Venice; 113. The Approach to Venice; 114. Venetian Sails; 115. ditto; 117. Venice from the Garden; 119. P. and O. Steamer off Venice; 120. San Giorgio. The same exhibition included works by Arthur Severn, John Ruskin, and S. Prout. The catalog mentions that Ruskin was still in Italy, so perhaps Munger was there with Ruskin prior to the exhibition. [Catalog of the Exhibition of Pictures & Drawings of Venice and of a Series of Drawings of Egyptian Life by Carl Haag, also a memoir of the Late J. Bunny by A. Wedderburg, The Fine Art Society Ltd, 148 Bond Street]|
|1882||Munger, of 60 Brook St, Grosvenor Square, London exhibits one painting at the Royal Society of British Artists: Medmenham. The price is 35 BRP. [MM - Works Exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists 1824-1893, by Johnson, Antique Collector's Club, p.336]|
|1882||Munger, of 60 Brook St, Grosvenor Square, London exhibits one oil painting at the Royal Academy: No 478 Woodland Streams in gallery 5. [Graves, p.325]|
Munger etchings listed for sale: "The Inns of Court: Six Etchings of the Temple and Lincoln's Inn, by Gilbert Munger. Price £2 2 0, separately £0 10 6 each." [LP, Fine Art Society, Catalogue of Etchings and Engravings, under "Miscellaneous etchings", London, 1882. Available at National Art Library, London, Box VI 94 N.]
|1882 ~||Walter Paris says: "I next saw Munger in London about the year 1882. He was then occupying a fine studio close to new Bond Street. He had a great display of pictures on the spacious walls and on easels and he appeared to be full of work and in a most prosperous condition of life." [Monroe, p.122]|
|1882-83||King "renewed his comradeship with Munger" in London. [Wilkins, p.329]|
|1883||Munger, of 60 Brook St, Grosvenor Square, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Hibernian Academy: The Approach to Venice It is priced at £60. [Stewart, p.311]|
|1883 ~||"Through one art dealer alone in London over two hundred (paintings) were sold to the nobility of Europe. ... The Royal Academy of London, the museums at Colberg, Berlin, Munich, Schwerin, Weimar, Meiningen, and in the Luxembourg Art Gallery of Paris, as carefully selected property of the public, they hold their own side by side with the masterpieces of all ages." [Memoir, p.13]|
|1885 May 17||"CHOICE WORKS OF ART - A Charming California Home
The pleasant home of William Norris, with its genial atmosphere, tasteful appointments and pervading spirit of refinement, is one of the garden spots of San Francisco social life ... One of the early paintings of Gilbert Munger, since become celebrated as one of the foremost lights of American art, presents a fascinating study. In the distance loom the stately Wasatch mountains, a storm beating wildly upon their sides and half concealing the summits. The eye retreats from the cold tones and threatening aspect of the hills to be surprised by the warm lights of a sunny landscape in the foreground, where tall grapes wave around the margin of a shallow pool. ..." [AH - San Francisco Chronicle,, p.6, n.1]
|1885||Munger exhibits two paintings at the Royal Academy: No. 494 Castle Park, Warwick and No. 508 Autumn, on Avon. [Graves, p.325]|
|1886 Feb||"The most successful of his writings was a comedy in three acts, entitled Madelaine Marston. It was brought out in Theater Royal, Haymarket, London, February 1886, Helen Barry acting it with great success." [Monroe-2, p.782]|
Period 8: Barbizon period - Paris
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|1886||Munger moves to France. [Cummings, p.14] "Then he went to Paris, where he soon became recognized as the most talented landscape artist of the American colony. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, spending occasional summers in Italy and Spain. Upon the invitation of Mr. Ruskin, he went to Venice and painted fifty pictures which were exhibited in London, producing a sensation and establishing his fame in England." [Monroe-2, p.781]|
|1886 May 19||"Art Exhibitions.
Foreign art is represented in two other collections. The Hanover Gallery at the corner of Maddox street has again opened with a collection of pictures by some of the best know of the present and the last generation of French artists, and, on the whole, the character of the work is quite up to the level of the former displays. ... Gilbert Munger would be more interesting if his work did not recall Corot so completely and now Diaz. ... " [LP, The Times, p. ?]
|1886 Jun 10||"There is one really notable picture by an America in London - Mr. Munger - which recalls Rousseau absolutely at his best. It represents three oak trees crowded together in a wildish land, the shadows not obscured and the lights still sober." Standard reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]|
|1886 Oct 4||". . . Beneath this vivid piece of coloring hangs a woodland picture by an American artist - G. Munger - that is one of the finest in the collection. It is suggestive of Constable and of Patrick Nasmyth, but like neither, and certainly deserves the highest praise." Morning Post reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]|
|1886 Oct 13||"In the upper gallery is, to our mind, the gem of the collection, a view Near Barbizon," by G. Munger. The gifted artist, one of the many Americans who find artistic training and domicile in Paris, has given a bit of the grand old forest of Fontainebleau." Brighton Guardian reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]|
|1886 Oct 19||"A living painter of decided genius, approved by many splendid landscapes of late years, G. MUNGER revives the best traits of the Fontainebleau schools." [London Daily Telegraph]|
|1886||"Of the Hanover Gallery I have little to say. Gems of the French and Belgian schools are selected for this exhibition with unerring taste. What pleases me most here is always the work of Gilbert Munger, an American artist, who lives at Barbizon, and who for years has saturated himself with the beauty of that nature that inspired Corot and friends. He sees for himself, and his own mark is upon all that he does. ..." The London Echo [Memoir, p.14]|
|1886||"We shall not quarrel with those who prefer the delicate Greville, by Millet, or the peaceful evening scene, Near Barbizon, by Gilbert Munger." The London Times reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]|
|1886||"Rub out the signature of Gilbert Munger, an American painter, still young, we believe, from any one of his landscapes, and it would pass for a work of that same school which glorifies the forest scenery of Fontainebleau. Corot, in his deeper and firmer mood, is reproduced, with no slavish effort of dull mechanical imitation, but with the appreciative reverence of an original hand, by this same Mr. Munger." The London Daily Telegraph reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]|
|1886-1887||Munger paintings at the Winter Exhibition of Pictures in Oil and Water Colours of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 93 Near Barbizon. [LP, Exhibition Catalog, found in National Art Library, London, Pressmark NAL 200.B.H.]|
|1887 Mar 3||"Where judgement is exercised in the purchase, an investment in pictures by young artists is about as profitable a one as can be made. With this view, let me recommend a visit to the Hanover Gallery, there to choose from Gilbert Munger's landscapes. The atmosphere and breadth of treatment in his canvases are wonderful." Fame and Fortune [Memoir, p.16]|
|1887 Oct 20||". . . and a beautiful Gilbert Munger, the French-American, whom Hollander and Cremetti introduced to England last year, and whose fame will yet be great." Land and Water [Memoir, p.16]|
|1887 summer||Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 7 On the Loing at Grez; No. 8 Near Auvers, France; No. 16 On the Loing at Grez; No. 17 On the Seine, Bois de Boulogne. Munger is described as the possessor of "Cross of the Order of Bolivar, Cross of Merit for Art and Science from the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, and Knight of the Saxon House Order." [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]|
|1887 fall||"SOME LONDON EXHIBITIONS - ... At the Hanover Gallery, however, one somewhat excuses the commonplace which seems an inevitable ingredient in a show of pictures offered for sale. Here we always find a few excellent foreign pictures and an example or two of the great landscape school of France. In this winter's exhibition ... A set of pictures in the style of the French Romantic school of 1830, is much more amusing and artistic. Mr. Gilbert Munger, undoubtedly, has little originality, and is content to see nature through the spectacles of Diaz and Rousseau; but surely that is better than doing without any artistic vision at all? It is less impudent that the pretensions of some naturalists who would have us buy pictures, and for high prices too, into which they have confessedly put nothing of what the whole world has for centuries been pleased to call Art. Some of Mr. Munger's work shows an intelligent and feeling adaptation of the ideas and methods of his precursors." [The Art Journal, 1887, London: J. S. Virtue & Co. Limtd, New York: The International News Co, p.125]|
|1887 Nov 3||"Near Arbonne, by a clever American artist G. Munger, is about as fine a landscape as anything of its kind since Constable." Whitehall Review [Memoir, p.16]|
|1887 ~||Munger paintings at Joseph Israels Exhibition (not dated) at the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 20 Near Fleury, on the Seine; No. 36 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 26 Near Grez; No. 49 Near St. Germain" [LP, Exhibition Catalog, found in National Art Library, London, Pressmark NAL 200.B.H.]|
|1888-89 winter||Munger paintings at the Winter Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 2 Near Poissy; No. 4 Near Poissy; No. 7 Near Villien; No. 9 Poissy on the Seine; No. 31 Near Villiers on the Seine; No. 51 Near Etretat. Upper gallery: No. 97 Near Ablon; No. 105 Near Trien; No. 120 Near Fleury; No. 136 Sunset. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]|
|1889 April 3||"Art Exhibitions. It will be admitted with regret
that the Royal Society of British Artists has nothing of exceptional interest
to show in the exhibition which opened this weekend. The visitor to the convenient
Suffolk-street rooms will look in vain for the artists who made the place
noteworthy a year or (missing word) ago.
Among the landscapes are a good many of G. Munger's river scenes, several by L. Chevalier, all very bright and green ..." [LP, The Times, p. 6 ]
|1889 April||Letters from Munger to his niece Olive (in Duluth?) place him at "35 Bould. des Capucines, Paris." [Tweed Museum files]|
|1889 Sep 10||"Formal Opening of the Art Department -- A Superb Display
The Art gallery opened yesterday afternoon, and was immensely thronged with visitors who found great comfort and restfulness in the quiet, cool hall, so different by contrast from the other departments. It needed but a few glances around the hall to show that R. C. Munger, superintendent, and his assistants had done their work successfully. There are two rooms, the exhibition room and the competition room. In the one are hung pictures which decline to receive medals and diplomas, though some of the pictures are for sale, and in the other are the pictures which indulge in rivalry.
(In the exhibition room) R. C. Munger exhibits Gilbert Munger's work, the scene in Venice, familiar to St. Paul people, but none the less beautiful; two scenes on the Avon, bringing out with effect the contract between the heavy, peaceful foliage of the river bank and the smooth water of the river; a train of Red river carts in camp in 1860." [St. Paul Daily News, p.1, c.1] R. C. Munger is Gilbert's brother.
|1889-90 winter||Munger paintings at the Winter Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 6 Near Bourron, France; No. 8 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 13 Near Rueil, France; No. 15 Near Nanterre, France; No. 57 Near St. Germain, France; No. 85 Mount Valerian, near Paris; No. 98 Near Marlotte, France; No. 106 Near Fleury, France. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]|
|1890 Jan 12||" ... A number of local art dealers have recently suffered serious losses from picture thieves. Steven’s gallery was visited by one of these gentry last week and a small painting by Gilbert Munger, belonging to Mr. Hazeltine and valued at about $500 was taken. It was 12 x 18 inches in size, and was torn from its frame, having been placed on the floor and presumably carried away under the thief’s coat." [The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago)]|
|1890 summer||Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 5 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 7 Near Grez, France; No. 13 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 14 Near Franchard, France; No. 43 Near Nanterre, France; No. 78 Near Marlotte, France. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]|
|1890 Oct 23||The London Telegraph report on the Winter Exhibition at the Hanover Gallery says: "There are several fine examples of the art of Gilbert Munger ... The gems of the collection are, perhaps, the landscapes and figure pieces of Corot, but we confess that the view near Franchard, by Munger, with its lovely distance and quiet, harmonious tones, runs it somewhat hard." [Memoir, p.14]|
|1891 Jan 13||"SOME FINE PAINTINGS
A PHILADELPHIA COLLECTION IN BOSTON
Good Examples of Famous Artists at Doll & Richards -- Pictures by Daubigny, Munger, Munkacsy, Rousseau, Madrazo and Others
It is not often that picture-lovers in Boston have the privilege of seeing so large a collection of fine paintings as that now on view in the galleries of Messrs. Doll & Richards on Park st. The collection is the property of C. F. Hazeltine of Philadelphia.
Gilbert Munger, the sole American painter represented, has two examples that bear comparison with any landscape in the room. The atmosphere is wonderful and the color superb. They are full of light and air. ... " [Boston Daily Advertiser]
|1891 Apr 11||"HASELTINE'S COLLECTION - Some Beautiful Pictures at Art Association - Paintings by Famous Artists - The Haseltine collection of pictures was exhibited at a private view yesterday at the rooms of the Art Association. There are some 270 pictures in the collection, many of them signed with famous names. ... Gilbert Munger has some dainty landscapes. ..." [AH - San Francisco Examiner, p.3, c.4]|
|1891 Jun 6||Munger painting sold at London auction. The catalog title page shows: "Catalog of the highly important collection of modern pictures formed by Charles P. Matthews, Esq., deceased, late of 23 Hertford Street and Havering-Atte-Bower, Essex, which (by order of the executors) will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Saturday June 6, 1891 at one o'clock precisely." On page 21 of the catalog appears: "Gilbert Munger 95. San Marco and Della Salute 19 1/2 in. by 29 1/2 in." Handwritten notes on the facing page record that the painting sold for £63.-.- to C.M. According to Marijke Booth of Christie's Archive Department these initials appear several times in this sale, either as a buyer or as a bidder. It could be the initials of a staff member who bought on behalf of somebody else, or it could be a member of the family of Charles P. Matthews. This painting may be painting #125 from the Munger catalog. [VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]|
|1891 Jun 21||"The Fine Arts -- Mr. Hazletine has on exhibition at the Stevens
Gallery a large collection of modern paintings of more than ordinary interest.
The works are chiefly those of European artists, although there are several
creditable paintings by Americans.
... Long section here describing works of many European artists. ...
There are in the collection landscapes by Charles Lindford, L. Munthe, Gilbert Munger, Michel, Senot, and others. ...
Taken all in all the collection is an excellent one; there are no positively bad works in it. It will remain in exhibition for a few weeks, after which Mr. Hazletine goes to Europe in search of new works. [Chicago Tribune, p. 14, c.4]
|1891 summer||Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 1 Near Grez; No. 51 Near St. Germain; No. 66 Near St. Germain. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]|
|1892 May 19||A Munger painting is sold at the "Finigan Art Sale" in San Francisco: "7. Wasatch Mts." [Barid collection, Special Collections, General Library, UC Davis, card 1] The auction was reported in the newspaper the next day [AH -- San Francisco Chronicle, p.12, c.6], but Munger's picture is not mentioned.|
|1892||A Munger painting referred to as "Duluth" is listed in the inventory of the estate of Anna Wormley, wife of the owner of the Wormley Hotel in Washington D.C. The painting is listed as being displayed in the "Large D'g Room" along with a portrait of Queen Victoria and approximately 14 other paintings and engravings. [Information provided by Donet D. Graves; see entry for 1911 Jun 17.]|
|1892||"In an interview in Paris, 1892, he was asked why our
artists live abroad, and said in reply:
If you insist upon a categorical answer to the question, Why do American painters live abroad? I must say that I cannot give it; but one of the reasons for my own stay, now prolonged since 1873 (sic) - and the reason with which I am fond of appeasing my own patriotism whenever it urges my return to the blue skies of my native country - is the increase of knowledge and the sure means of growth in art everywhere at hand in these old lands.[Memoir, p.18] It is unknown which Journal published this article.
|1893 Apr||From the catalog of the Columbian Exposition (World's Fair), Chicago: "MUNGER (Gilbert Davis). Paris, France. The Rising Moon. #1075." The painting was offered for $500. [NMAA, p.293] Munger must still have been in France when this painting, currently unlocated, was submitted for consideration.|
Period 9: Reestablishment in America - Washington D.C. and New York
|Go to: Guide Page Previous Period Next Period|
|1893 Apr 28||Munger returns from Europe to New York City. [Cummings, p.12]|
|1893 Jun 3||"HIS NATIVE LAND - Mr. Gilbert Munger, the Eminent Artist,
Returns After Spending Years Abroad - HIS FINE PAINTINGS AND METHODS -
Comment on the English and French as Entertainers - Caustic Criticism
Gilbert Munger, the distinguished American artist, is in the city once more after an absence of sixteen years. Not withstanding his long absence of sixteen years, he is still the American, with a love for his native land, as anyone may gather from conversing with him, and that he is distinguished no one who has the slightest knowledge of the world of art can be ignorant. From the time when he first went abroad sixteen years ago (1893 - 16 = 1877), his success has been wonderful, and his career in his profession has been brilliant and progressive, until now his paintings are found in all the art galleries of England and the continent and his work has a prominent place on the walls of every considerable private gallery. Mr. Munger's long residence abroad has given him somewhat the air and the accent of an Englishman, but he is a man without affectation of any kind, one of the simplest men in the world to meet. Since his coming here he has constantly met old friends, who have by no means forgotten him, and they will have opportunity to renew the acquaintance, for he proposes to remain here for several months resting. Mr. Munger arrived in New York April 28, and after visiting Washington and Chicago reached St. Paul Wednesday.
Mr. Munger was asked to give some account of himself, and protesting that he ought not to speak of his own work he was still persuaded to do so. Speaking of his earlier career he said:
'My first art work was done in the Rocky mountain region, where I was connected with the first survey, under Clarence King, ever organized by the government. It was there that I made and finished studies of what I saw, painting the geological formations with careful detail, so that a geologist could tell the species of rock from
'After I finished my engagement with Mr. King I went over this ground again on my own account with my own men and supplies, and it was on this second expedition that I met with a party of English gentlemen. They took great interest in my work, and gave me a number of orders, and advised me that I ought to go to England, where my work would be more appreciated and where the artistic atmosphere would be an aid to success. I took their advise and went to London, where I found that what they had told me was true. After exhausting my American studies I
'I followed as closely as I might without becoming a mere imitator what is called the Barbizon school of art, which as you known, is the school of the great French artists of 1830 - 40. Corot, Rouseat (sic) and the others, and in a short time I became very successful, selling everything that I painted to a London firm, which took them at prices that were quite satisfactory.'
Then Mr. Munger, in answer to an interrogatory, explained that he had
'I was a constant exhibitor,' he said, 'at the Royal academy and at all the large provincial exhibitions. It was my pleasure to be a friend of Millais and we have worked together in the highlands of Scotland.'
Speaking of his manner of working, Mr. Munger said that it had been his habit for many years to work all night, as long as from 9 o'clock in the morning to 3 o'clock at night. In London he drew many of his large pictures on the Thames. He says:
'I had a large studio boat, which was called Noah's Ark, and in this I could set up a canvas eight feet long., and there I worked at it every day until it was finished, and then put the picture in its frame without looking at it again. Some people have an impression that a man goes out and makes sketches and then finishes his pictures at some other place than that at which the sketch was made, but I have never used sketches. I ascertained the time of day in which the subject appeared the best, either morning, noon, or night, and then went back again and at that hour worked at the subject until the work was done.
'In order that an American may appreciate a foreign landscape of the poetical school it is necessary that he visit the locality. The American atmosphere has a dryness and hardness that gives the impression of unreality and makes it difficult to feel the proper appreciation.
'Some people ask, Why these nooks, these trees, a simple pool of water, a few trees with a figure in the foreground and a hazy atmosphere? Now, that is the very thing I wish I could make plain to everyone,' said Mr. Munger with enthusiasm; 'it is the picture that suggests to you; you do not see everything; it is the
'I have lived in Paris six years. My people preferred eventually the French subjects of the Barbizon school, and I went to France in summer and back to London in winter, but the winter was so dark and foggy that I could not work to advantage, and so I decided to live in France all the year round. I still sold my pictures in England to the firm that I had made the agreement with. However, I have sold pictures in Belgium, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, South America and the United States, as well as in England. A number of my pictures have been ordered for royal museums and will always be retained as public property. In Paris I spent much time in the forest of Fontainebleau and near the city, as well as made excursions into the provinces. The social life abroad? Well, London is much to be preferred to Paris, for the Englishman is the most hospitable man in the world. He is a perfect host, for the wealthy Englishman
'I have been asked by many people how the art section of the world's fair in Chicago compares with the art exhibitions at the other of the world's fairs and great exhibitions abroad. I tell these people that it is not as fine as any of the art exhibitions I have seen in Paris or on the continent. The main reason is, perhaps, because the government and collectors who own most of the great masters will not permit them to go across 3000 miles of ocean and back again for fear that they may be injured. To give you some idea of the values at which these paintings are held and of the cost of the one item of insurance let me tell you of an art exhibition in Paris last summer called 'The One Hundred Masters.' Although these picture remained in France, the insurance alone was 19,000,000 of francs, nearly $4,000,000. The French government absolutely refused to allow her pictures and art treasures to be sent from her galleries.
'It follows that in foreign works of art the world's fair will be inferior to the other great exhibitions, in respect to all foreign countries except Germany. That country had no exhibit of art in Paris at the exhibition there. I think the greatest lesson that the American is to learn from the world's fair lies in the
'These buildings will afford and unparalleled object lesson for the American people who are comparatively ignorant of fine architecture. I was in New York recently and was shown through the city. There were what was called fine buildings - the Vanderbilt house on Fifth avenue, a horror of architecture. Just across the avenue was the Huntington house, another horror. The idea of utility seems to sink every other consideration in the majority of buildings.
'Then I went to Washington, and the despised White House seemed to me to be the finest building I had seen anywhere. I believe today that it is the
'Now I am no longer a child, and I have, I think, learned all I can learn from the masters. I would like to earn that recognition in my own country which I have won abroad. I should like to identify myself with the people of my own land and take an interest in their art life. A man ought not to forget his own country even after a long residence abroad. At least, I shall visit here for several months.'
Mr. Munger has brought with him about eighty pictures, some of them not yet finished and many not in frames. He intends to have his friends look at them some time, if they wish, but when the idea of putting them on public exhibition was mentioned he did not know that there would be an exhibition of that kind." [St. Paul Dispatch, p.5, c.2]
|1893 Jun 19||" The Aberdeen -
My dear Alice
Your very kind letter has been duly received, and also the cards of invitation to your wedding, neither of which come as a surprise.
There seems at present no immediate prospect of my coming to Duluth, but I believe Uncle Russ is arranging for a joint visit on the occasion of the wedding, the most important event thus far to you, and to all of those who embark for the first time upon the untried sea of matrimony, and in which I can only wish you find in it "that peace and joy which passes all understanding."
Since arriving in America all seems strange. I am constantly meeting old friends who bear with them the evidence of long years of separation, and the new generation which has sprung up in the mean time also serve to remind one of the too long absence abroad.
It is a melancholy pleasure to be presented by the Mother of 50 to the daughter of 20, who is the exact counterpart of the Mother who in my youthful days was my favorite partner in a Waltz or Cotillion. And I walk the busy streets unrecognized and unknown in my Native land. "And none so poor as to do him honor". At times it brings a tinge of sadness, and a desire to return to a country where I have never had a home except perhaps a temporary abode with the amiable and sympathetic Peasant.
If however in the next few weeks it will be my fate to become a Millionaire (this misfortune has come to many of my friends) I shall be better able to adapt myself to the new conditions in which I find myself so suddenly placed.
With all the joys in store which you predict, and the many more which remain untold, it will be hard indeed to resist much longer a visit to your beautiful home with its delightful surroundings.
And with kindest regards and good wishes to Mr. & Mrs. Silvey (the one that is to be)
I am faithfully Your
June 19, 93"
[Letter in the Tweed Museum files]
It is not certain where "The Aberdeen" is located, but there was a hotel of that name at the corner of Dayton and Virginia in St. Paul MN from 1887 to 1920. According to a description from the Minnesota Historical Society it was just the sort of place Munger would choose to reside on a visit. Thus it is likely that this letter places him in St. Paul, which is consistent with other evidence, such as the previous entry.
|1893 Sep 17||"ART NOTES
-- The exhibition at Minneapolis has a gallery devoted to the fine arts, in which artists of that flourishing city are represented. There is a large marine with fisher lads and maids in a boat, the work of Hans Dahl, and a collection of views taken from France by Gilbert Munger, an American who was for many years resident in London. French, German, and Scandinavian pictures, as well as works by natives, are to be seen.
... [JM, New York Times, p.16]
|1893 Oct 31||"TOWN TALK
Gilbert Munger -- Art in America, to one who has been associated with the works of the old masters and the greatest living painters, seems to lack seriousness. One of the main faults apparent is the luxurious living of the artists. They lack the physical strength to endure a long and earnest study of art as did the founders of the Barbizon school, the popular and as well as great school of to-day. Studio teas and receptions, full dress suits and that style of living takes up too much of the time of the young American artist, who upon the first evidence of genius is lionized and spoilt of any serious, earnest, hard work." [St. Paul Daily News (MN)] This must be a paraphrase of Munger's comments on the american art scene he found when he returned to America.
|1893 Dec 8||Munger painting sold at London auction. The catalog title page shows: "Catalog of modern pictures of the English and Continental Schools, the property of G. H. Edmonds, Esq., deceased, late of Canterbury House, Gravesend, and Miss Marshall, deceased (sold by order of the executors); pictures, the property of a lady; another property received from the continent; also pictures from various private sources: which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Saturday December 8, 1893 at one o'clock precisely." On page 13 of the catalog in the section "different properties" appears: "Gilbert Munger 1885 103. Autumn on the Avon 19 1/2 in. by 29 1/2 in." Handwritten notes on the entry record that the consigner was Mrs. Amphlett of 2 Queens Gate Terrace in London SW and on the facing page that the lot sold for £17.17.- to Permain, a dealer in London. This painting is very likely the one shown at the Royal Academy in 1885 (see entry for 1885 above). [VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]|
|1894 Nov 10|| "FINE PAINTINGS SOLD - Bids Were Considered
Moderate - Famous Names, but Not Much Excitement - The Fashionable
Throng at the Johnson Estate auction Was large Yesterday.
... George H. Kuhn bought Guiseppi Signorini's 'Elegant Leisure' for $115 and Gilbert Munger's marine view for $80. Signorni is a famous name in Spain and Munger is an American artist of much distinction. ..." [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.14, c.1] Barbara Skryja, historian and Kate Johnson biographer, suggests that the buyer should be read as "George A. Kohn". Both names are found in San Francisco at this time, but a close reading of a more legible copy suggests this change.
|1895 summer|| Gilbert Munger meets the young Harold Bell Wright at the home
of the Hon. William J. White in Cleveland, Ohio.
First person narrative by Wright excerpted from his book To My Sons--
"I was awakened in a most unexpected manner to what those two prep-years at Hiram [College, a prep school near Cleveland] had done to me.
I had formed a deep friendship with one of my fellow students. It was one of those young-men friendships which sometimes spring from mutual liking with a reckless disregard for anything else. He was the son of a Cleveland multimillionaire, and it would seen that the son of such really great wealth and the son of such extreme poverty could have little in common. But we had so much in common that we mutually defied the immeasurable difference in our circumstances and stations. I shall not tell you his name, but in my novel "When a Man's a Man" he is "The Honorable Patches." [The Cleveland millionaire was the Hon. William J. White. Wright was at Hiram in 1894-5, a year that White's son Harry Walter attended.]
My friend invited me to spend the Christmas holidays at his home. ... Of course I have never seen anything like that home. I was stunned. It was equipped with every luxury that wealth could command. There was a farm of thoroughbred racers, a stable of pedigreed carriage and saddle horses, and the fastest yacht on the Great Lakes. There were paintings and art treasures assembled from every land. [These details match White's situation perfectly, thus strengthening the identification.]
When summer came I foolishly accepted financial help from my friend, in order that I might devote my time to writing. ... Then my friend insisted that I join a house party at his home.
And then it was, in that environment of wealth and luxury where I had no business to be, that I met the man who crystallized into definite purpose all that my experience in the evangelist's tent meeting and all my Hiram College contacts had given me.
He was an artist, a landscape painter of Royal Academy rank. An American, he had spent most of his life abroad and had been decorated by several foreign powers. He was in the country for a brief visit, and by that strange chance which always seemed to take a hand in my affairs at critical times he too was a guest in my friend's home. Because an artist must always be at his work, he spent a part of each day in a temporary studio.
A confirmed bachelor, old enough to have been my father, distinguished in a world which in every respect was foreign to my poor little world, this man for some reason became my most patient, understanding, and inspiring friend. I spent hours with him in his studio while he made magic with brushes and colors. I never dared to tell him that I had ever attempted trifling sketches. As silent and as spellbound as, when a child, I had watched my first artist friend, I would sit and watch him at his work. The only difference was that now I smoked.
Those experiences with that artist-farmer friend of my boyhood came back to me with amazing force. The gate into his world of beautiful living was again opened wide and I was invited to enter freely. Vividly I lived again my companionship with my mother. Under the spell of my association with this new artist friend, all that she taught me to see and feel was renewed a hundredfold. All that I had experienced since my mother's death only served to intensify my reaction to the things this great artist soul set before me. Once he told me, with one of his rare shy smiles, that he liked to have me there because he could paint better when I was with him. What an amazing thing for a distinguished artist to say to an illiterate, poverty-stricken youth. Can you imagine what it did to me?
Often he would talk to me of art -- not the silly jargon of those who vainly strive, by technical parrot words of which they themselves know not the meaning, to be thought artists, but the simple understandable phrases of one who could speak with authority and was concerned only to make his meaning clear. Nor did he, in these talks, speak only of painting. He talked of art as a whole -- of its meaning and its relation to life. Sometimes he would take me to look at pictures painted by other artists and would help me to see them with understanding appreciation. Sometimes we lunched together in some little out-of-the-way corner of the city; and while we ate the plain and simple fare, he fed my soul with the things I was so hungry to hear: bits of observation and experience from his own life while he was struggling for recognition and after he had won to his distinguished position; bits of his own personal philosophy and understanding of life.
He encouraged me to read to him some of the things I had written. and in a simple matter-of-fact way that made me feel his sincerity he would say: "You'll do it some day, lad. Keep hammering away. Someday it will come." And then all the fire of him which was commonly hidden beneath his placid exterior would burst forth and he would command me sternly: "And when your time comes, hit them hard! Hit them with all your might."
I wish I could visualize those forces for you as I now see them. The life swirling about that house of material riches (yachting parties, the races, theater parties, dinners) every luxury, extravagance, and pleasure that money could buy. The life revealed to me by the old artist as he told me of his early years of hardship and work and privation, as he talked to me of art and its meaning and place in the spiritual development of Man, as he awoke to fresh vividness the memories of my childhood, of mother, and of my first artist friend; the realities of truth and beauty which he led me to feel and accept; the nobility of serving in any capacity the spiritual needs of men; the baseness of accepting every material service with never a thought of making adequate return. The gay extravagance of the house party, the perpetual search for pleasure in the gratification of every whim. The grinding toil of his years of effort to realize for a few fellow beings a little of that saving beauty which is for all who will have it.
Between the artist and the house party, as you may imagine, I was in a miserable state of mind. I became morose, sullen, sitting in scowling silence amid the gayety, withdrawn into my disagreeable shell. I wonder those dear friends and their guests did not vote unanimously to drown me in the lake, and carry out their just decision. ...
Toward the last the old artist offered to take me abroad with him, and assured me of work enough to support me while I went on learning to write. But I think he was glad to have me say that I was not ready yet, that I must go to work right here at home. He laughed and there was a little note in his laughter which made me understand that I had made the correct answer. "All right, lad," he said. "What does it matter where one works? But I shall hear of you. I know that I shall hear of you."
When I called at the studio to bid my artist friend good-bye, the old man, wiser than my school chum, did not offer me money. He did better. He put aside his work in spite of my protest and walked to the station with me. He even went on board the train and saw me to my seat. Slipping a handful of cigars into my coat pocket, he said smilingly: "As you smoke them, think of me." Then he gripped my hand. "I shall hear of you , lad. I know I shall hear of you."
He turned quickly and hurried from the car. as the train pulled out, he stood on the platform, waving good-bye. I never saw him again.
This artist who came, through so strange a combination of circumstances into my life at a time when I sorely need him, was Sir Gilbert Munger. And you, my first-born son, you now know why you are named Gilbert Munger Wright."
[Wright, pp.157-165; see also the entry for 21 August 1895 and the White obituary notice in the entry for 1903 below.]
|1895 ~||"When last in Cleveland I made $5000.00 in clear profit in 5 months painting portraits and refused several other orders." [Letter of 1902 Jan 19 from Munger to J. C. Sprigg; see below.] The letter of 1902 Jan 19 from Munger to J. C. Sprigg is the only indication we have that Munger painted portraits; none have been located. The previous entry recounting Munger's friendship with Harold Bell Wright strongly suggests the possibility that this portrait painting occurred while Munger was visiting the William J. White household in the summer of 1895.|
|1895||Mrs. B. P. Avery donated "a collection of thirty-four Paintings and Engravings by Early California Artists and others; collected by her late husband Benjamin P. Avery, one of the founders of the San Francisco Art Association, to be hereafter known as "The Avery Collection." It included paintings by F. Arriola, T. A. Ayers, H. R. Bloomer, S. M. Brookes, N. Bush, G. J. Denny, W. Graham, W. Hahn. T. Hill, R. G. Holdredge, W. Keith, J. R. Key, G. Munger, C, Nahl, T. Rosenthal, P. Toft, and J. B. Wandesforde." [Source unknown.]|
|1895 Aug 2||Gilbert Munger is attending the horse races: "... Hon. W. J. White, Mr. Gilbert Munger, one of the best American artists, of Washington; " [The Cleveland Plain Dealer]|
|1895 Aug 21||“HE HAS FAME – An American Artist Who Has Become a Distinguished –
Chat With Mr. Gilbert Munger.
Among the many distinguished guests who have been entertained in this city during the present summer none is more distinguished than Mr. Gilbert Munger, the famous American artist, who is the guest of the Hon. W. J. White. Although for many years he has made his home abroad, yet Mr. Munger is still an American and he is an American of whose phenomenal success all Americans are proud.
Mr. Mungeris the recognized leader of the Barbizon school and is the only one living of those who have made that school of art famous. From boyhood he has painted and he has achieved the success which has marked his career through his natural ability as an artist, as he never received any instruction. When a small boy he took his box of colors out in the yard and began to paint. From that beginning he has kept it up to the present time. He located in New York and while there gained for himself a national reputation. He then went to London where he remained for ten years. His pictures found ready markets throughout the British Isles and they are found in all the cities of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. From London he went to Paris, which he found much better suited to his work by reason of the absence of fogs and the greater natural beauty of the forests, which it is his delight to picture. He has remained in Paris for the last eight years, but is in this country to visit old friends and recuperate. It is impossible for him to remain inactive, and he has painted a great deal while in this country..
His paintings have found ready sale and his pictures are virtually sold before they are painted. For the past few years he has painted for the dealers and by his contract with them has been prevented from exhibiting his work. Before going abroad he received a commission from the Emperor of Germany to paint the Falls of Niagara and that is probably his largest work. Since he has gone abroad he has received commissions from nearly all the countries of Europe to furnish them pictures. His labors have been rewarded by a number of decorations. From Italy he has received two decorations, from Venezuela two, and one each from Russia, Germany, Belgium, Coburg, and France. Mr. Munger wears a small button which gives the colors of six of his decorations, but has not had the other three colors placed in it. He was also knighted by the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg.
His specialty in painting is the forests of France. The wood of these trees is of a lighter hue than is the bark of the American trees and it furnishes a better field for painting. He always paints from the scene itself and takes his canvas out at the same hour of the day in order to secure the same light. In speaking of his work last evening, Mr. Munger said: “The forests of France differ from those of America and the bark of the trees is of a lighter hue. The American bark is dark. The autumn colors of France are not the brilliant hues of the American forest, but are of a duller shade of red. The only way to get the lines of the bark and other natural features if the trees is to go in the forest and paint from life. I select my spot and them make a pencil sketch in order to see if it will make a picture. If I find it will I take my canvas into the woods and paint from nature itself. I have done some painting while I have been in this country and have had a room placed at my disposal in The Arcade, where I may work. I have a number of my pictures with me, but will not hold any exhibition. They will be exhibited to a few of my friends, but I will hold no public exhibition.”
The decorations which Mr. Munger has been honored with are those which cannot be secured through influence and which are awarded on merit only. They grant to the wearer many privileges and admit him to all court functions. The number of artists who have been thus honored is few.
While Mr. Munger makes a specialty of forest and landscape pictures he paints as a relaxation Venetian pictures. One of these is owned by Mrs. White. Outside of these relaxations his efforts are confined to the forest and landscape views. Mr. Munger will remain in the city for some little time and will not return to Paris until next year. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, p 8.]
|1896 Feb 16||"I go to painting show and then call on Munger and (Rockwell?)." [GS - Emmons] Emmons is in Washington D.C.|
|1896 Apr 12||"Money Drawer Robbed by Elevator Boy
Clarence Ruckles, twenty-one years of age, employed as an elevator boy in the Evans' building, 1424 New York avenue, was before Judge Miller in Police Court yesterday to answer the charge of breaking into the office of Artist Gilbert Munger, prying the money drawer open, and taking $30 therefrom. He pleaded not guilty, but the testimony of Detectives Boyd and Helan, who arrested him, was sufficient in the mind of the court to prove the defendant guilty. The detective swore that Ruckles confessed the crime to them Tuesday night, when they placed him under arrest, and he gave up $5 of the stolen money. The court fined him $25, and ordered the restitution of the balance of the money which he stole, or ninety days in jail. Ruckles paid the fine." [The Washington Post, p.3]
|1896 Jul 22||"ITS GRANDEUR -- Americans Do Not Appreciate Niagara --
Foreigners go into raptures over it, while Americans are prone to give it a passing
glance -- The tide is turning in its favor
Gilbert Munger, the famous artist, whom America is proud to claim as her own, yet who has lived so many years abroad he sees with European eyes as well as American, says with his mind’s eye he sees the time when up and down the beautiful roads that lead here and there, from a place that is superb through that which is beauteous and on to what is grand, will be lines of sumptuous villa, owned and occupied as magnificent possessions almost without price.
And yet Americans content themselves with a day or a week. They stop over a train on their way to Europe and think they have seen it all. The old Emperor William of Germany, grandfather of the present sovereign, heard much of the Falls from his traveled subjects and had a great desire to see them, but, more hampered than they in his actions, was obliged to forgo the pleasure and view them by proxy only. To this end he sent an agent to this country to obtain a painting of them, and this painting haply was commissioned to the since celebrated Munger. He came to the Falls and studied them for weeks, from above, from below, from all sides, and made his picture. That was the beginning of his great fame. The Emperor William decorated him. He bestowed on him the grand cross for science and art. It was a great honor to get one of these decorations, and particularly for an American. Mr. Munger has many, representing eight foreign countries, and all of them were given in recognition of his art. One was from the old Duke of Saxe Coburg-Gothe, that great European diplomat who was such a staunch friend of the old Emperor, and also Bismark, and did so much to unite the great statesman and the present ruler. The red cross of Russia was bestowed upon him by the late Czar. The King of Belgium honored him with a medal, and the National Fine Arts Society of Italy and the Duke of D’Aosta, brother of King Humbert of Italy gave him other decorations. Two came from Venezuela. One is the officers’ cross of the Order of Bolivar and the other the commanders’ cross of the same order. Still another medal is from the Art and Literature Society founded by Victor Hugo.
The foreign governments are considerate as well as appreciative. When they give a medal, the give two. One is large. It is the medal. The other is small, the pendant seldom larger than a 10-cent piece. The large ones are to be displayed at ceremonies of state. The latter are for less formal occasions. Mr. Munger has his attached to a short gold chain and, worn on his coat, give an air of distinction without ostentation. He is justly proud of the medals, and America can be proud for him. Mr. Munger’s paintings are not popularly known. They are mostly owned by collectors and foreign art museums. It was after he painted the picture for the German Kaiser that he went to Europe. He stayed 18 years, and then he came back to America and intends to remain here, at least for the winter and possibly for all time. He has come to Niagara as an old friend, and he says it has changed not. It is as grand as when he went away. He sits on the verandas of the Clifton House, where he is staying, and wanders about the grounds, ever finding new beauties in this great work of Nature.
…" [The Buffalo (NY) Express]
|1897 Nov 10||SOCIETY'S APPROVAL -- It is Given to the Hourse Show -- The Four Hundred Turn Out in Handsome Attire -- ... On the south side, the W. J. White family and their guests occupied three boxes. Those present were Hon. and Mrs. W. J. White, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. White, Mr. Gilbert Munger of New York, ..." [The Cleveland Plain Dealer, p. 3]|
|1898 summer||Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 40: Near Nemours; No. 43: On the Seine. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]|
|1898 Sep 1||"An Artist Dead, Mackinac Island, Aug. 27. - Albert A. Munger, a painter of Chicago and a millionaire, died here today. Mr. Munger was a liberal patron of art and one of the leading connoisseurs of painting in America." [The Butte Weekly Miner (MT), p. 14, col. 4] This is another painter of the poeriod named Munger that can cause confusion!|
|1899 Apr 15||"THE PICTURE SALE CONCLUDED -- Good Prices Again
for the Barabizon and Low Ones for the English and Dutch Pictures --
Lessons of the Sale.
The second and concluding night's sale of the Harris-Holbrook-Blakeskee pictures at Chickering Hall last evening resulted in a total of $105,390 for eighty canvases. This added to the Thursday night's total of $68,125 for the eighty pictures then sold, makes a total of $173,515 for 160 paintings. This sum is just below the estimate made by good judges of the picture business before the sale began and the expectation that last night's sale would pull up the low total of Thursday's sale was not realized. Again, as on Thursday night, the early English, Flemish, and Dutch pictures sold, as a rule, very poorly, and had it not been for the good prices paid by the dealers -- who were present in force -- for the Barbizon pictures, the result of the sale would have been even less successful.
Save for the positive published and verbal assurance of the auctioneers and owners, it might be assumed that some of the more important canvases, other than the Barbizon paintings, were bought in. ..."
The article concludes with a complete list of the 160 paintings sold and the sale prices for each. The highest price paid was $$7,800 for Diaz's Diana and Her Nymphs, sold to J. Oehme. Included in the list is:
"Gilbert Munger. A Late Summer Day ... 150"
[New York Times, p.2, c.2]
|1900 ~||Munger spends an autumn season with his friend Dwight Williams of Cazenovia, NY, doing some fine work characteristic of the scenery of that locality. [Monroe, p.125] Munger's Cazenovia paintings are customarily dated 1900, but he may have been there earlier.|
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