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Sonntag painting on display at Cincinnati Museum Center

Sonntag’s Ohio River Near Maysville, Kentucky is now on display through January 8, 2023, in CMC’s America’s Epic Treasures featuring Preternatural by Michael Scott. America’s Epic Treasures features a dozen paintings from CMC’s collections alongside more than 30 large-scale works from artist Michael Scott celebrating the grandeur and rejuvenating power of nature.

Sonntag’s 1850 painting is part of CMC’s History Objects and Fine Art Collection, reflects the local landscape at a time when mastodons roamed the region. The discovery of mastodon bones at nearby Big Bone Lick in 1739 caught the attention of scientists including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who, as president, ordered a scientific expedition to the site in 1807 led by William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame.

Sonntag was born in Pittsburgh in 1822 and moved to Cincinnati in 1843 to perfect his painting technique. He became a highly regarded landscape artist and made several trips to Florence, Italy with his friend and fellow painter Robert S. Duncanson (whose 1851 Cincinnati from Covington, Kentucky is also on display in America’s Epic Treasures). He moved to New York in 1856, where he joined a group of other landscape painters inspired by Romanticism known as the Hudson River School, named after the frequent subject of their work. The Hudson River School inspired several similar art movements, including the Ohio River Valley, a frequent muse for artists like Duncanson.

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William Louis Sonntag Ohio River Near Maysville, Kentucky

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