"...Washington's finest master of still life, who created lovely, often quite simple flower and fruit paintings..." William Gerts, Art across America, Two Centuries of Regional Painting, Vol.1, pages 348-349.
Peter Baumgras is considered an American portrait and still life painter. He was born January 24, 1827 in Bavaria and died October 18, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. Baumgras received his formal art training at the Dusseldorf Academy with Friedrich Kaulbach (1822-1903) and the Royal Academy in Munich with Carl Schorn (1803-1850).
In 1853, Peter Baumgras immigrated to the United States. In 1857, Baumgras traveled to Washington, DC of the decoration of the Capitol. He would remain in Washington for almost 15 years. During this period, he helped found the Washington Art Association became a prominent teacher taught, which led to a teaching position at Columbian (now George Washington) University for the instruction of the deaf, dumb and blind. In 1865, he painted a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Although he was primarily a portraitist, Baumgras is to this day considered Washington's master still life painter. During the Civil War, Baumgras was a surgical draftsman, and after the war, he taught at the Naval Academy at West Point.
At the end of the War, Baumgras would be drawn by fellow artists to the West Coast. He would arrive in 1869 and remain in the west spending most of these years in California (1872-1874) painting mining scenes and Yosemite scenes. He would also travel to Oregon (1877) to paint a few portraits.
By 1900, Baumgras had returned to Washington DC and spent the last few years of his life in Chicago.
National Academy of Design, NY
Who Was Who in American Art, Peter Falk
Artists in California, 1786-1940, Edan Hughes
Art across America, Two Centuries of Regional Painting, William Gerts, Vol.1, pages 348-349. Plate 1.344, pg. 349
E. Benezit, Vol. I, pg. 18
Exhibition of the National Academy 1861-1900, Maria Naylo
Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton