Near Saugerties, NY, 1928
Oil on Canvas
35 x 37 inches
Signed Lower Left
Known as “the Painter of Snow,” Walter Koeniger was the son of an architect, born in Germany in 1881. From architecture, Walter turned to painting, while still in Germany. He studied under Eugene Gustav Dücker and Eduard Karl Franz Gebhardt at the Düsseldorf Academy.
Koeniger immigrated to the United States around 1910 and settled in Woodstock, New York in 1912, where he abandoned his earlier style of photographic realism in favor of a more painterly, expressive technique. He concentrated on capturing the fleeting moods of nature during a period when the winter scene genre was rapidly rising in popularity. Koeniger focused on views of the Catskill Mountains and wooded areas around Woodstock and Saugerties.
His activities at Woodstock (where he died in 1943) are not well known; apparently he was not involved with the artists’ colony there. He painted in broad, large strokes, rendering brilliant sunlight and glowing color harmonies, soft gradations on color in the sky, streams and forests. The artist adapted the blue and purple shadows of the impressionist aesthetic. A plein-air painter, even in winter, Koeniger would reportedly delay the completion of a painting until the setting sun would add the proper tint of orange to the scene. One historian said Koeniger had a “passion” for “frozen, snow-covered scenes of winter.” His work was popular and was sometimes used on the covers of Literary Digest. Later in his career, Koeniger maintained studios in both Woodstock and New York City.
National Academy of Design, 1926, 1929, 1930, 1931
Vose Galleries, Boston, 1926
Düsseldorf Academy with Dücker and Gebhardt
Arizona State University Art Museum
University of Arizona Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
Springville Museum of Art, Springville, UT
Delval Fine Arts Consortium, Lansdale, PA
Toledo Museum of Art
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