the ‘Painter of the National Parks’

Gunnar Widforss, Desert Vista, n.d.

Gunnar Widforss Catalogue Raisonné Launched

“Although Gunnar Widforss (1904–1934) was known as the ‘Painter of the National Parks’ in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, very little art-historical writing or scholarship has been focused on the artist. His extraordinary paintings of western national parks in the United States and scenes of European and Swedish landscapes have suffered from decades of obscurity following his death in 1934. Throughout his career (1904–1934), Widforss swam against the powerful tide of modernism as tastes in art focused on the European avant-garde. His first significant exhibition in Stockholm in 1913, featuring landscape scenes of southern France and Capri, took place shortly after Picasso and Braque’s early period of experimental Cubism peaked, and it coincided with the intense artistic dialogue spawned by the 1913 Armory Show in New York.

“The Museum of Northern Arizona, located in Flagstaff, Arizona, currently has the largest collection of Widforss paintings, drawings, and related archival material, with twenty-two works of art in the fine art collection. The Museum’s relationship with the artist dates back to the late 1920s.

“The catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive catalogue of all of Widforss’ work known at this time. At the date of publication (September 2020), the catalogue includes over 1,200 works from private and public collections, and many for which the present location is unknown. As research continues, works will be added and information updated.”

Above:
Gunnar Widforss, Desert Vistan.d.
Watercolor
13 1/4 x 20 3/4 in. (33.7 x 52.7 cm)
Signed lower left: Widforss
Northern Arizona University Art Museum, Flagstaff, Arizona

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