Thomas Nygard Gallery - 19th and 20th Century American Art



Charles Ferdinand

(1828 - 1862)

Born in Germany, he and his family came to America in 1843. They settled in St. Louis where his stepfather established an inn.  He sought companionship with the Indians who camped near this western gateway rather than American boys.


In 1849 he joined Léon Pomarede, with whom he was apprenticed, making sketches up the Mississippi for the “battle” of the St. Louis panoramas. In 1852, he returned to Germany to attend the Düsseldorf Academy, the leading school of the day.  He studied for four years under Josef Fay and Emanuel Leutze.


Wimar returned to St. Louis in 1856 with a fresher style. He made several lengthy trips up the Missouri River and Yellowstone sketching, collecting artifacts and making some of the earliest Indian photographs.  Wimar depicted Indian ceremonies and buffalo herds as well as hunting and war scenes.  His style reflected a mature and authentic depiction of the Indian and buffalo in prairie life. He received lucrative commissions but was required to paint portraits and do decorative work as well for financial support.  He tragically died from tuberculosis, at age 34, just as his career was ascending.


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