Detailed Entries for All Periods
This page presents 60,000+ words of chronologically organized period materials by and about Gilbert Munger. At the bottom of each entry is a source reference, e.g., [Cummings, p.6]
The text corresponding to a footnote mark, such as this, is at the bottom of the entry, e.g.,
NOTE  Text of the note.
Shortcuts: Ctrl-f or Cmd-f key → find text; Home key → go towards page top; End key → go towards page bottom.
Period 1: Apprenticeship, engraver, service in Civil War - Washington D.C.
1837 Apr 14 — The Munger Book 1639-1914 provides the following birth and family information:
Sherman Munger. b. 'Opening Hill,' No. Bristol (now No. Madison), Conn., Oct. 12, 1801; d. 1857; m. Lucretia Benton, July 26, 1826, dau. Noah and Mary (Davis) Benton; b. 1802, d. Aug. 26, 1856. Her father was a soldier of the Revolution.
Sherman Munger (Gilbert's father) moved from N. Madison to New Haven; from thence to Iowa in 1856. Left Iowa City early in the spring of 1857 for Kansas, overland through Missouri. Supposed to have been killed by 'Border Ruffians' as he was never heard of after leaving Iowa City. It has since been learned that he was a cattle buyer, and accustomed to carrying large sums of money in cash on his person, checks and drafts not being available as now. He probably was murdered solely for the purpose of robbery and his taking off had no political significance. Is described as being energetic; 'a pusher' in a business way; a 'money getter.'
- Mary Lucretia. b. May 15, 1828; d. -.
- Roger Sherman. b. 'Opening Hill,' No. Madison, Conn., Feb 25, 1830; d. Duluth, Minn., Mar. 14, 1913; m. Olive M. Gray, at Vassalboro, Me., Apr. 28, 1858; b. -; d. Duluth, Minn., 1894. Two daughters; Mary Emma who married D. E. Woodbridge and Alice Gray who married W. B. Silvey.
- Russell Carlton. b. No. Madison, Conn., June 11, 1832; d. St. Paul, Minn., -; unm.
- William Henry. b. No. Madison, Conn., April 6, 1835; d. St. Paul, Minn., June 22, 1863; unm.
- Gilbert Davis. b. 'Opening Hill,' No. Madison, Conn., Apr. 14, 1837; d. Washington D.C., 1903; unm.
[Munger, various pages, starting p.88]
NOTE  This reference also traces the family back five more generations to Nicholas Munger, who immigrated from England to the North Madison CT area in the mid 1600s.
1850 Sep 28 — In the 1850 New Haven CT census the household of Sherman Munger (age 48, laborer) lists Gilbert D (age 13) as a son, along with Gilbert's mother Lucretia (age 48), sister Mary S (age 22), and brothers Roger S (age 20), Russell C (age 18), and Wm H (age 15). [MM - 1850 New Haven CT Census, Schedule 1, p.?, lines 9-15]
1850 — Munger goes to Washington D.C. to study engraving. [Cummings, p.6]
"During the following five years Munger was employed
principally in engraving large plates of plants, birds, fish, fossils,
reptiles, portraits, and landscapes, published by the Government in connection
with the exploring expedition of Commodore Wilkes, and for Professor
Agassiz's works, and the works of the Smithsonian Institution."
NOTE  Work is underway to inspect the various government publications of the 1850s to locate plates produced by Munger. The results so far are:
- United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842. According to the excellent bibliography by Haskell, none of the many volumes published after 1850 to record the results of the United States Exploring Expedition under Commodore Wilkes contain plates signed by Munger, although his mentor and landlord W. H. Dougal's work is well represented. Munger may have worked on some of these plates as an unacknowledged apprentice. [Haskell]
- Various government reports of the 1850s subcontracted engraving work for plates to Selmar Siebert's Engraving and Printing Establishment in Washington D.C. Engraving credit is listed for those plates as "Selmar, Siebert." Munger might have worked for this firm. That would explain why many references say he worked on government publications but so far we cannot find any government record of his employment. [Various plates in the Library of Congress, e.g., "From the Humboldt Mountains to the Mud Lakes."]
1853 Feb 24 — Munger sculpture shown at Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute in Washington D.C: "Clay Model of the Foot" owned by Gilbert Munger. [Yarnell]
1853 Apr 7 — "Awards at the Metropolitan Mechanics Institute… Master G. D. Munger, plaster casts, rank first — first diploma." [(Washington D.C.) Daily Evening Star, p.4]
Artist John Ross Key was employed by the "United States Coast Survey, as a draftsman
(1853-1856), where he served alongside Gilbert Munger (1837-1903) and
James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)." [Peter H. Falk,
Who Was Who in American Art, Sound View Press, 1999 edition, entry for
NOTE  Key, Munger, and Whistler are documented as having been in Washington D.C. at this time, but no period documentation for Munger working at the Coast Survey has been found. Key and Whistler are documented as working there at the same time. Since Key knew both Whistler and Munger, there can be little doubt that the three of them were acquainted. Key and Munger were good painting and traveling companions up until Munger went to England in 1877, even though their friendship must have been put on hold when Key was working for the Confederate Government during the Civil War.
1859 — Gilbert's brothers Roger and Russell arrive in St. Paul MN. They at some point establish the Munger Bros. music publishing business. [See entry for 1903 May 2]
1860 Jun 22 — In the 1860 Washington D.C. census, the household of William H. Dougal (age 36, engraver) lists Gilbert Munger (age 23, engraver) as a member. [MM - 1860 District of Columbia Census, Schedule 1, First Division, p.28, lines 4-9]
1861-1863 — The Employer's Monthly Time Book of Entrenchment for the Defence of Washington 1862-1865 includes these entries:
|1861 Nov||178||Gilbert Munger||3.00||26||78.00|
|1862 Apr||265||Gilb Munger||1.00||22||22.00||harness buggy|
|1862 May||268||Gilbert Munger||3.00||4||12.00||timekeeper|
|1862 Oct||29||G. Munger||2.25||31||69.75||timekeeper|
|1863 Jan||12||Gilbert Munger||3.00||26||78.00||timekeeper|
|1863 Feb||13||Gilbert Munger||3.00||28||84.00||timekeeper|
|1863 Mar||13||Gilbert Munger||3.00||31||93.00||timekeeper|
|1863 Apr||13||Gilbert Munger||3.00||30||90.00||timekeeper|
|1863 May||13||G. Munger||3.00||30||90.00||timekeeper|
[MM - National Archives, record group 77,
entries 561 and 562]
NOTE  In this document soldiers are identified by grade, mostly 'private', and earn 0.40 per day. Thus it appears that Munger was a civilian employee during 1861-1863. See the next item for the only information we have on Munger's activities from May 1863 until February 1867.
1861 — From an article written shortly after Munger's death by a relative:
… And now came the great changes caused by the outbreak of the rebellion. Appropriations for art and sciences - the luxuries of a nation - had to withdrawn, and Mr. Munger was thrown out of employment, for no private firms would publish such work as he produced. He was offered and accepted a position as engineer in the Federal Army, but the work was not congenial, the imaginative artist temperament being 'cribbed, cabined, and confined,' when all his duties were comprised in the mechanical labors of the military engineer. However, he studied hard to fit himself for his calling, with such success that he became a constructing engineer.
During the four years' war, he was engaged upon the field fortifications around Washington, and so while actively employed for the defense of his country, happily escaped the horrors of the battlefield.
When peace was declared and the vast army disbanded, to return to their homes, Mr. Munger also laid down his arms and resigned his commission, much against the advice of friends. …
NOTE  The author of this article was Munger's niece, Myra E. Dowd Monroe. It was written a year after he died. A copy of the article in the possession of Doris Monroe Weissman, the author's daughter, shows the following pencil annotations on this section.
During the four year's war, with rank of Major, he was engaged in the field fortifications around Washington, and under Sen. Delafield organized the bureau of lithography and simplified it. The maps were used by the Sherman campaign. The government offered him a permanent position in the field - but he chose to continue his study of art.
There doesn't seem to have been a Senator Delafield during the Civil War, but Major General Richard Delafield commanded the Army Engineers from 1864 through 1866 and was responsible for making maps, included maps of the Siege of Atlanta. The Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its organization September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 by Francis B. Heitman claims to provide a "complete alphabetical list of commissioned officers of the Army, including officers of the volunteer staff … ." It does not list Munger. But, the hand-written annotation is the most authoritative reference we have for these years and, in the absence of any other reports of his activities, we need to assume Munger worked for Delafield in 1864 through 1866.
Period 2: Initial activity as professional artist - New York and St. Paul
1866 — Munger resigns his army commission and moves to New York City. [Sweeney, p.49] He has two pictures, Evening on Cheat River and The Long Path Together - Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, shown at the National Academy of Design exhibition in York City. [Exhibition catalog]
"Munger has a studio in the same building in New York
City with Frederick Butman [1820-1871], who was there for a time beginning
in 1867. Butman did many western mountain scenes, including a Mt. Shasta in
1864, which Munger could have used as the
basis for his own Mt. Shasta 1867. This date has been disturbing
because Munger had not yet been to California then."
[Cummings, p.20, note 14.]
NOTE  It is very unlikely a Butman painting was the source of Munger's Mt. Shasta 1867, #9. The latter contains much more correct topographical detail than any Butman paintings. That Munger painted from a photo also is unlikely, as the colors are 'right' too. See the 1870 Nov 22 article below that seems to describe well our misdated Shasta, noting it was recently completed. In fact, Clarance King's book Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada [1872, p. 248] mentions Munger painting from almost the same place south east of Shasta in mid September 1870 on his first (and probably only) visit to the mountain. The 1867 on the front and back looks like it was an erroneous date added later. Another error is that the mountain is spelled 'Shaster' on the back of the painting.
1867 Feb 2 —
"Mr. Gilbert Munger, a young artist who began to paint in oil colors two
years ago, has produced some landscapes that are remarkably fine, considering
the short experience of the painter in his art. At Messers. Phillip & Solomons'
bookstore are three of his pictures —
view on the Rapidan river and a view on the
Robertson river, both in Virginia, and a larger picture of the great falls of the
Potomac river. These paintings are well worthy of inspection."
[Memphis Commercial Appeal (Tennessee), p.3]
NOTE  This item was copied to the Memphis newspaper from a Washington D.C. area newspaper without attribution of the source. All the other imported news items in the column attribute their source, so the omission must have been in error.
1867 Apr 11 —
"CATALOGUE SALE OF FINE OIL PAINTINGS, RARE COINS, etc., AT PUBLIC AUCTION.
On MONDAY and TUESDAY EVENINGS next, April 15th and 16th, at 7½ o’clock, at our auction room, we will sell, by catalogue, a very superior collection of Rare Coins and Fine Oil Paintings, seven of which are by the celebrated artist Gilbert Munger Esq. of New York, and were lately on exhibition at the store of Messrs. Philp & Solomons; amongst them are scenes from the Great Falls of the Potomac, Blue Ridge Mountains, Va., Rapidan and South Rivers, Va., Coast Scene, etc.; also, Landscapes and Interior Views, with many others, from the pencils of eminent European and American artists, such as Burrows, E. Carter, Lang. E. Moran, Dr. Ruggles, deceased, and others of celebrity. Catalogues can be had at our Auction rooms. COOPER & LATIMER, Aucts." [Washington Evening Star, p.4]
1867 May — The expedition team for the United States Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, headed by Clarence King, assembled near Sacramento California. This exploration continued under King's leadership until the end of the exploring season in 1872. Munger joined it for several years as a guest artist and 12 of his sketches were reproduced as chromolithographs in the expedition's final report, King's Systematic Geology that was published in 1878 by the US Government Printing Office. Many of Munger's most compelling paintings of the western U.S. were of locales he visited as guest artist. Perhaps more important were the relationships Munger forged with expedition personnel during the exploring years, some of which he maintained for the rest of his life. A start at mining the personal papers and secondary sources of expedition personnel has already uncovered many details of Munger's life and work. So far we have mined mainly King's and Samuel Franklin Emmons's sources and papers for Munger material. [Website author's commentary]
The following table lists the expedition personnel for each exploring season.
F. A. Clark
F. A. Clark
A. D. Wilson
F. A. Clark
N. L. Davis
A. D. Wilson
F. A. Clark
A. D. Wilson
F. A. Clark
A. D. Wilson
F. A. Clark
A. D. Wilson
|Artist||G. Munger||G. Munger||A. Bierstadt|
|Photographer||T. O'Sullivan||T. O'Sullivan||T. O'Sullivan||C. Watkins||T. O'Sullivan|
|Zoologist||R. Ridgeway||R. Ridgeway||R. Ridgeway|
1867 Jul 7 —
"We have heretofore omitted to notice that Mr. Munger,
an artist from New York City, was engaged upon a large size painting of
Minnehaha. It is now completed and upon exhibition, and is in our opinion
the first painting which does entire justice to our little gem of a
waterfall. Its truthfulness to nature is perfect, and the evident labors
which have been lavished upon the most minute particulars, proves that it
was a work of interest to the artist. The painting is 36 by 50 inches in
size, and it takes a view of the falls and a portion of the rapids
immediately above, and also the birch trees upon either side of the stream.
As a work of art it is to our uncultivated eye, a rare production.
Mr. Munger is a young artist of very decided ability and promise, and we are glad that a painting of Minnehaha has at last been produced by a gentleman so well qualified to do it justice. He is now engaged in another entirely different subject. The work will be called The Halt on the Prairie and will represent the camp of a Red River train in the evening. The subject is a grand one, and in a few short years the painting will have a historic interest, for these trains, now an institution of our pioneer State, like all other landmarks of the semi-barbarous customs, are disappearing with the advance of railroads and civilization.
Mr. Munger will also visit the St. Croix valley before returning to New York and take home with him sketches of that most beautiful of all lovely Minnesota scenery." [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
NOTE  The Red River trains were assemblages of ox drawn carts involved in the fur trade from Canada.
1867 Jul 9 — "FINE ART - MINNE-HA-HA. - Gilbert Munger, of New York, has been engaging for some time past in painting the Falls of Minne-ha-ha. Saturday his picture was placed on exhibition in the store of Munger Bro's, 3rd street. It is a very beautiful and correct representation of that little gem, and the picture is much admired by the great numbers who have called to examine and criticize it. It will remain on exhibition some days yet, unless sold to someone who admires it more than 500 of those beautiful pocket pictures ornamented with Spinner's signature." [Minneapolis Tribune, p.3]
1867 Jul 11 —
"Minnesota and Northern Iowa.
… Mr. Gilbert Munger, a St. Paul artist, has just completed a picture of the Falls of Minnehaha, size three feet by four. …" [Milwaukee Daily Sentinel]
1867 Oct 27 —
"The study of Gilbert Munger taken at Trempealeau
promises to make the handsomest picture painted of any portion of
Minnesota." [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
NOTE  Trempealeau is about 60 miles downstream from St. Paul on the Mississippi River.
1867 Nov 16 —
"Minnesota and Northern Iowa.
… Mr. Gilbert Munger, of St. Paul, and artist of much local celebrity, has painted a picture of the Trempealeau Bluffs, which has been purchased by a Scottish nabob, and will be exhibited in the Glasgow Academy of Fine Arts … " [Milwaukee Daily Sentinel]
1867 Nov 22 —
"A Man Attacked by a Buck and Severely Injured.
For several days past Gilbert Munger has been in the habit of visiting a lot near Ham's brewery, on the Stillwater road, in which are kept two deer, for the purpose of taking sketches of the buck. Yesterday, while engaged in sketching, be had an encounter with the latter, which proved to be a desperate one, and at one time threatened to have a fatal termination. While Munger was engaged in sketching, the buck managed to get his antlers entangled in the cords which sustained the easel. Munger assisted in getting him clear of the cords, and as soon as add accomplished this the buck, which bail manifested a disposition to have a contest with some thing or somebody, turned suddenly, and with great fury, upon him and succeeded in piercing the fleshy part of his leg just above the knee, and throwing him upon the ground. As soon as the buck succeeded in this attack he sought to renew it, while Munger was on the ground, but the latter had the presence of mind to seize the infuriated animal by the horns, and thus, by his coolness and persistency in holding fast to the buck's horns, succeeded in preserving himself from a severe bruising, and perhaps saved himself from being killed. The struggle continued for several minutes, no one being present to render assistance. Munger finally succeeded in regaining his feet, and managed to keep his hold of the horns, notwithstanding the buck struggled violently, and tried hard to butt him off his feet. As the contest progressed Munger had the presence of mind to give ground till he reached the fence, when be suddenly let go his hold and in a very hasty manner placed the fence between himself and his assailant. After getting outside the inclosure Munger sought the proprietor of the grounds and related to him the circumstances above stated. Three men returned with him for the purpose of getting the easel and his colors. When they arrived at the inclosure the buck looked so furious that two of the men declined to enter. The third one, who feeds the animals, went in, when the buck made a desperate effort to butt him. A well directed blow, however, from a club which he took the precaution to carry into the inclosure with him, brought the buck to his senses and persuaded him that it would be wise not to repeat the effort for another contest. The easel, paints, etc., were brought out, and the animals were left to their meditations. Munger's clothing was considerably torn, while one prong of the antlers passed entirely through the fleshy portion of one leg just above the knee, and two or three other prongs pierced the flesh in different places. He is considerably bruised and his injuries are painful, though not, of course, at all dangerous. It was a very narrow escape from death, and an experiment not likely to be again tried very soon." [St. Paul Pioneer, p.1; as reprinted in the Sacramento Daily Union, 1867 Dec 14, p.1].
1868 Jan 4 — "Gilbert Munger, the artist, is busily at work on another view of Trempealeau. It is an evening view and represents the mists just rising from the water. The sun is still tinting the peaks of the bluff, the foliage of which has the brilliant tints of summer. Mr. Munger intends as soon as he has finished the above to undertake a huge picture of Minnehaha, four times as large as his former view. It is to be sent East." [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
1868 Jan 30 —
"A Minnesota View Gone to Scotland. - During the fall we
gave a description of the beautiful painting executed by Gilbert Munger
of this city. It is a view of the Bluffs of Trempealeau, and while on
exhibition excited much attention, and elicited warm commendation from
hundreds who had the pleasure of giving it critical examination. It was
purchased by a wealthy gentleman of Scotland to be placed on exhibition for
one year in the Academy of Fine Arts in Glasgow, Scotland, after which it
goes to his private collection of paintings, of which he has a large and
Although bought and paid before it was completed, Mr. Munger obtained permission to retain it in his studio until he could make a second one. This has been done with a little variation. The original represented a morning scene with the sun just bursting through the mists of the morning. In the second painting it is changed to an evening view with the silver thread of a moon appearing over the bluff. If possible, the effect is still more bewitching than the first design. The second picture having been completed the original was carefully packed, and yesterday saw it in the Merchants Union Express office, marked 'Oil Painting, Daniel Lean, 100 Queen street, Glasgow, Scotland.' The Merchants Union receipts it through to Glasgow.
The purchaser was George Lean, but as he is traveling it goes to his brother, who will place it on exhibition in the Academy of Fine Arts in that city. It is a matter of some pride to know that the beautiful scenery of our State will be so prominently displayed among classic works. It is also no small compliment to the artist, who bids fair to make a world-wide reputation with his brush." [St. Paul Daily Press, p.4]
1868 Jun 6 —
"Opera House Art Gallery Exhibition of Fine Arts.
Just Arrived, Gilbert Munger's celebrated picture of 'MINNEHAHA FALLS.' … Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m." [Chicago Evening Post, p.2]
1868 Jun 22 — "Mr. Munger to Niagara Falls." [AH - New York Evening Post, p.2 c.3]
1868 Aug — Clarence King, head of the US Government's Geological Survey of the 40th Parallel, discovers and names Lake Marian in the Humboldt Mountains of Nevada. The expedition's photographer Timothy O'Sullivan accompanies King and makes photos of Lake Marian dated 1868. This lake, a subject of later Munger paintings, is now known as Overland Lake in the Ruby Mountains. [Wilkins, p.126]
1868 Sep 13 — "St. Paul Artists in Chicago. - Several highly complimentary notices of the large and magnificent painting of the Falls of Minnehaha, by Gilbert Munger, which was sent from this city some weeks since to take a place in the Opera House Art Gallery, Chicago, have already been referred to in these columns. The following from the Chicago Art Journal bears additional testimony to the talent and skill of our young and gifted artist:
The Falls of Minnehaha still occupy a prominent position in the gallery, which picture we, as yet, have failed to see justly criticised. Minnehaha is one of nature's favored spots, owing, it is true, a great deal to the poem of Longfellow, but much more to its own beauty.
Above the falls the 'Laughing Water dances merrily along, till it reaches the precipice, over which it plunges, startled and frightened, to the fearful depths below, when it once more resumes its course, sobered by the effect of its terrific leap. But the most beautiful feature of the fall, is the delicate indication of the rainbow, produced by the sun's rays glancing on the rising mist. Among the vast number of wretched daubs intended to represent this choice bit of nature, we are glad to see one that does justice to the scene. Mr. Munger has given us real water, laughing merrily in the sunlight. In a happy mood he has caught the rainbow effect and transfixed it truthfully on the canvas. Usually this effect is spoiled by exaggeration, but he has given us only a suggestion of it. The rocks are handled with geological accuracy - well drawn and finely colored. The trees are lifelike and full of motion, while the sunlight striking on the clump of birch near the top of the left hand embankment, has a beautiful effect. The whole picture is pervaded with a soft, delicious atmosphere, and canopied by a sky in perfect harmony with the surrounding scene. The artist has had the good taste to leave out the straight, hard lines of the bridge just below the base of the falls. Leaning against the trunk of an immense elm tree, a short distance from the falls, is an Indian, while his squaw stands near him, both looking mournfully at the falling water, listening to the voice of the Great Spirit, which tells them in tones of thunder the downfall of their race."
[St. Paul Daily Press, p.4]
1868 — Roger and Russell Munger, who are Gilbert Munger's brothers and run a music business in St. Paul MN, copyright a stereoview of a painting of Minnehaha Falls. Gilbert Munger painted a large Minnehaha Falls (#154) while in St. Paul in 1868. It is described in the entry above. Based on a detailed comparison of the stereoview and a high resolution photo of the painting, the stereoview is identified as an image of that painting. [The stereoview (left half shown) is a gift from the Minnehaha Falls collection of historian Karen E. Cooper to this website.]
1868 Sep 19 — "Gilbert Munger, the Minnesota artist, is going to Niagara to paint that great water-power." [Delta Alta California, p.2]
1868 — "Trempealeau Bluff, on the east bank of the river, between the cities of LaCrosse and Winona, is a magnificent study. (It has been successfully painted by Mr. Gilbert Munger, a talented young artist from New York, who did it while visiting his brothers, the popular music dealers, on Third street, in St. Paul, when I was unraveling the mystery of that curious mound of round blue stones which had been accumulated by Hah-zah-ee-yun-kee-win in memory of her first born child. The painting proved very successful, not only in the estimation of those who were familiar with the original scene, but in the artist judgment of a Scottish nobleman, who gladly paid a large sum for it while yet in an unfinished condition.)" [C. Hankins, A Dakota Land, Or, The Beauty of St. Paul Hankins & Sons, 1868, p.356]
1869 May 12 — "Gilbert Munger, of 82 Fifth Avenue, has painted a large view of Niagara Falls as seen from the Canada side. The work is one of real promise, showing a good deal of skill and graphic power. It bespeaks for the artist an honorable position among American landscapists, and at once advances him a long stride in his career." [Cummings - Home Journal, p.2 c.2]
1869 — Munger's brother Roger moves from St. Paul to help found the town of Duluth. [Cummings, p.20]
Period 3: First trip west, with King's Geological Survey - San Francisco
1869 May — Munger leaves New York City for the Far West. His friend and fellow artist John Ross Key accompanied him. While Key explored Tahoe and the Big Trees, Munger joined Clarence King's Geological Survey of the 40th Parallel at Salt Lake City in early June. [Cummings, p.7]
1869 Jun 12 —
"Worked around Paridise Valley, a beautiful little flat
surrounded by high towering rocks, on the south side the mountains tower up
3 or 4,000 feet, summits covered with snow and a dense growth of pines. The
river flowing through the valley with the bottom growth makes up a fine
picture. Mr. Munger took a sketch. Mr. Eaton collected about 94
varieties of plants. I secured several fine negatives of points in and
around the valley."
[GW - Diary entry of C. R. Savage,
freelance photographer from Salt Lake City, available in Special
Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT]
NOTE  Paridise Valley may be an old name for Cache Valley on the Bear River north of Salt Lake City.
1869 Jun 22 — Munger is in Clarence King's 40th Parallel Survey camp at Parley's Park in the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City. King reports that: "Munger seemed enchanted in a calm and gentlemanly sort of way, sketching on four-foot canvases." [Letter from King to James Gardiner, © The Huntington Library, HM 27826, San Marino CA; excerpt cited in Wilkins, p.135]
1869 Aug 2 — "Gilbert Munger has gone to the Rocky Mountains." [AH - York Evening Post, p.2 c.3]
1869 Aug 29 — "Change my pony mules with Sullivan. Munger decides to stay over while we are here and picture the scenery of the canyon which he says is very fine. Sullivan team goes back today. Munger, Arnold & I ride up the country which we find as grand as M's description. Keep up with the main fork. Trail pretty bad in places: where canyon opens out, go up on hill for general view of structures. On way back hunt fossils. Find Munger in canyon painting, return to camp about sunset. From there the party went on to Willow Creek, near Payson." [GS - Emmons]
1869 Aug — Photographer Andrew J. Russell, hired by the Union Pacific Railroad to document the transcontinental route with stereo images, accompanies Clarence King's Survey party into the Uinta Mountains of Utah. Russell's photo from this trip "Andrew J. Russell & Party in Camp Bear …" shows a person who looks to be Munger. [GW - Andrew J. Russell stereo photo R0232A, Union Pacific RR Museum Collection, Omaha NE]
1869 Aug — "King described this last large block of work of the 1869 season as a sort of triangle, with the Uintas, running east and west, forming the south side, the Wasatch Mountains, running north and south, the west side, and the Green River roughly delineating the third side." [Bartlett, p.177]
1869 Aug — Timothy H. O'Sullivan, expedition photographer, takes these photos:
Upper Bear River, Utah, 1869. Penciled on the mount is "Munger's Trees." [Timothy H. O'Sullivan - The King Survey Photographs, Keith F. Davis and Jane L. Aspinwall, Yale Univ. Press, 2011, Catalog Raisonne item No.146].
Upper Bear River, Utah, 1869. Penciled on the mount is "Munger as Squaw?" There are two draped figures at the right. Is one of them Munger in costume? Click on the image to see the photo full-sized. (Expand the browser window if necessary to see it all.) [Ibid, Plate 66 & Catalog Raisonne item No.145]
1869 Aug —
"August 1869 had nearly passed when the (Survey) corps
returned to Parleys Park and prepared to withdraw from the field. King sent
several men to stations in the East. Three detachments of the rest began to
retrace the belt of survey in parallel courses from the Great Salt Lake, …
King overtook one of his parties inside the border of Nevada; and taking the
Humboldt route they reached Argenta by the end of September. …"
NOTE  We don't know how much of this journey Munger shared with King expedition parties.
1869 May-Oct — The excerpt in this entry recounts Munger's and John Ross Key's travels together in the west in 1869. Given the previous entries, they apparently traveled together from the east only as far as Salt Lake City. Munger left the train there in June to join the King expedition and Key continued on his own. Munger clearly was with the King expedition in Utah and Nevada until the end of August. The trip to the Sierras and Yosemite with Key as described here must have occurred during September and October, after Munger separated from the King expedition for that season. He could have joined Key at Truckee CA from the west bound train and traveled to Yosemite with him via Lake Tahoe. Note the Tioga Pass reference in the account below. That pass would have provided a route from the Tahoe region to Yosemite. To witt:
Journeying by train and stage coach Key arrived in California during the summer of 1869. Whether by design or chance he traveled with a fellow artist, Gilbert Munger. The two young men stayed together and sketched at Lake Tahoe and at Big Trees. Remembering the tall tales of Major Savage and the reports of Fremont, they set out for the valley of Yosemite. Efforts were being Watkins were the only evidence that had given the people of the Atlantic some idea of the sublimity of that incredulous valley.
The two artists found the traveling very difficult. The roads were narrow and rough and every sort of conveyance had to be resorted to. They know that they had to get into the valley and out before the first snows choked the passes. The high Sierras rewarded them with breathtaking views which they carefully sketched. When they finally achieved the awesome entrance to the valley it was sketched with notes of the evershifting colors and cloud formations. They were able to recognize such names at Tioga Pass, Sentinel rock, and Halfdome. Many of the now well known points had not even been named at that time, so they invented some of their own. The lake [Tahoe] where they had spent considerable time was then called, 'Lake Bigler'. Key, however, preferred the Indian names. All the reports of the gigantic beauty of the place were true. They found that the meadows and the banks of the Merced River were being grazed by thousands of sheep. One herder was a young man named John Muir, at that time, just another herder, but one who had dreams and a deep appreciation of the old valley of the Ahwahnee Indians. They had long been driven from Yosemite by homesteaders and miners. Somewhere still in that valley lies the 'Mother Lode' the site of a legendary huge gold find, sought by thousands to no avail.
When October dropped the first snows, the artists reluctantly left the valley. That one trip had provided enough sketches for many years of studio work. Munger headed for San Francisco and Key was pointed towards San Jose and his relative and sponsor, General Naglee.
[Rediscovering some New England Artists 1875-1900, Kristiansen and Leahy, Chapter 9: 'John Ross Key', p.103, Gardner-O’Brien, Dedham MA, 1987]
1869 Oct 31 — Munger settles at the Lick House Hotel in San Francisco. [AH - Alta California, p.1]
1869 Nov 25 —
"Mercantile Library Art Exhibition - The exhibition of
works of art for the benefit of the Mercantile Library opened at the Gallery
of Snow & Roos today. The handsome little gallery is well known to the
public and needs no description.
A General Glance - It contains this time 112 pictures and two pieces of marble. The list of paintings comprises the following artists of celebrity. … Bierstadt … Thomas Hill … T. Buchanan Read … Eastman Johnson … Kensett …
Bierstadt's Yosemite - …
California Views - … John R. Key who exhibits two charming little studies of Yosemite scenery. … Mr. Munger, who was recently artist to Clarence King's geological survey across the continent, exhibits two sketches of familiar shore scenes near the Golden Gate. They were hastily prepared, by request, but show that Mr. Munger paints with an honest purpose. Some sketches of Rocky Mountain scenery, which he may exhibit hereafter, prove his capacity as a landscape painter." [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1870 Feb 20 — "THE PICTURES OF MR. J. R. KEY - Quite a goodly number of art critics assembled at the Museum room of the Mercantile Library Building last night at the private view of the landscapes of Mr. J. R. Key. There are about a dozen pictures all told and all are excellent. … Another artist, Mr. Gilbert Munger, has two pictures on view, of which the one giving a wide glimpse of the Wahsatch Range and Salt Lake Valley, is most admirable in treatment. The artist has caught the exact spirit of the scene, and has reproduced it most faithfully on his canvas. A snow-water lake, high up in the same range, is peculiar in character and seems to be but a duplication of Nature. None of these pictures are to be sold at auction, but the artists, probably, would sooner dispose of them here than send the East, where they would, most likely, be better appreciated." [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1870 Feb 21 —
"Art Exhibition. Mr. John Ross Key's invitation to a private view
of his paintings, at the Mercantile Library Gallery, on Saturday evening, was honored by a
large gathering from circles of taste and fashion. … Mr. Gilbert Munger has two
pictures in the room, from studies made in the Wasatch Mountains, which he made while
connected with Clarence King's scientific expedition. The better of the two, giving a wide
view of the valley opening into Salt Lake, is one of the very best landscapes we have seen
in this city from any artist. The range is boldly depicted, the valley distance is
painted with a fine luminous effect, and the haze peculiar to that locality is nicely
worked. All the pictures noticed will remain open to the inspection of
the public for ten days. They are not to be offered at auction, but can be purchased privately."
[San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
NOTE  The San Francisco Chronicle report of this exhibition names the two Munger pictures: Wasatch Mountains, and Spirit Lake, Humboldt Mountains. The Humboldt Mountains in Nevada are now named the Ruby Mountains. There is no Spirit Lake there now. The report in the San Fransisco Examiner says the name is Spirit Lake, Humboldt County, which does exist in northern California. However, that lake is a considerable journey by train, horse, and foot, and Munger certainly did not go there by 1870 and probably never did.
1870 Mar 16 — "EXHIBITION OF ORIGINAL PAINTINGS - The well known artists John R. Key and Gilbert Munger will have another exhibition of original paintings at the Mercantile Library Museum, beginning this evening and continuing until Saturday when the pictures will be offered for public sale. The collection is unique in its way, embracing 60 paintings - of a size much below the average - and which can be sold within the means of the least fortunate admirers of art who would shrink from the price of a larger canvas. The subjects are Eastern and California landscapes from original studies, very pleasing in composition and color, and worked up with decided artistic merit. Many of these small studies are gems. All are tastefully framed, and the exhibition will be very attractive features of the week. The doors of the Museum will be open to the general public until the time of the sale. [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.3]
1870 Mar 18 — "Exhibition of Sketches of American Scenery - There is now on exhibition at Mercantile Library building a fine collection of sketches in oil of American scenery, painted by John R. Key and Gilbert Munger. These sketches are really highly meritorious cabinet pictures and evince good artistic feeling in handling and treatment. Most of them are painted from nature and all have the freshness and freedom of outdoor study. No such exhibition has ever before been offered in this city. The whole collection will be sold at auction on Saturday afternoon next by H. M. hall & Co. Following is a list of the most prominent pictures: The Falls of Minne-Ha-Ha; Yokayheny River, Alleghany Mountains; Morning and Evening; Woodland Glen; The Old Mill; Cattle in the Pool; Cascade, Blue Ridge Mountains; Falls of the Black Water, Alleghany Mountains; Cheat River, Alleghany Mountains; Lake in the Uintah Mountains; Yosemite Valley; and Mammoth Trees, Calaveras and Mariposa Groves." [AH - Alta California, p.1, c.6]
1870 Mar 21 —
"Sale of Pictures - The sale of Key and Munger's
pictures occurred at the Mercantile Library Hall on Saturday last. It will
be seen that the prices did not rule high, as follows:
Date Palms, Buenaventura, $42.50; Glades, Alleghany Mountains, $45;
Wahsatch Mountains, Autumn Alleghany Mountains, $11;
Sunset, Potomac River, Lake George, $12.50; The Brook (Maryland) $10;
Trout, $12; Old Mission, San Buenaventura $17.50;
Mammoth Trees, Calavaras Grove $92.50; Sketches from Nature, Lake Bigler
(a name used for Lake Tahoe from 1844 to 1870) $10;
Summer Sunset, $8; Blue Ridge Mountains $12.50; Sketch from Nature $9;
The Old Mill (Maryland) $25; Falls of Minne-ha-ha, $35;
Cattle in the Brook, Black Water River, Alleghany Mountains, $15; In the Grove $23.50;
The Angles' Nook (Maryland) $26; Oyster Boats, Chesapeake Bay, Mountain Meadow, $12.50;
Cheat River, Falls of the Black Water, $15; On the Coast (California) $12.50;
Bridal Veil Fall $90; YoSemite Valley $90; Uintah Lake, Uintah Mountains, $95;
View of the Potomac River, $5; Youghagenny River, Sunset in the Mountains, $10;
Cascade, Blue Ridge Mountains, $23; Morning, Evening, $18; Wahsatch Mountains, $10;
Meadow and Brook, Alleghany Mountains, $10;
Wreck of the Brignardello, Evening on the Potomac, $13;
Cave Rock, Sacramento River, $14; Mammoth Trees, Mariposa Grove, $20;
View near the Golden Gate, $8;Sunset, Black Water Mountain, Autumn, Cheat River, $8;
On the Coast (California), $11; Autumn, Lake George, Uintah Lake, $10;
San Jose Valley, Coast View (California), $5 each; Point Lobos, $15;
Rapidan River (Virginia), $12."
[AH - San Francisco Examiner]
NOTE  That a Falls of Minne-ha-ha went for a low price, suggesting this version was small, and was not the exhibition-size painting that was brought to San Francisco in September of 1870 and sold in 1871 to San Francisco financier Ralston.
1870 Mar 22 —
"ART MATTERS - Pictures by Gilbert Munger, John R. Key and
G. J. Denny - Art has not been making very progressive strides of late among
our local artists. The season of the year, dullness of business and scarcity
of money are generally urged as the cause; but we believe our artists are
hibernating, and, like the bats, will not unhook themselves until nature
puts on her Spring garments and makes herself presentable for their
inspection. Messrs. hall & Co. held a sale of between fifty and sixty
pictures at the Museum of the Mercantile Library on Saturday. They consisted
principally of cabinet pictures of small size and were all from the easels
of Gilbert Munger and John R. Key, two Eastern artists, who have been
doing California for the past six months or so. The prices realized were
rather low, the entire collection bringing but $1000.
Among the pictures now on exhibition at the art gallery of Messrs. Snow & Roos are A View in the Wasatch Valley, by Gilbert Munger, and a capital little sea piece by Denny. Mr. Munger's Wasatch Valley is one of the best pictures that has ever been produced in California. We had drawn an unfavorable impression of Mr. Munger's powers as an artist from those of his productions that have already been exhibited; so much so, indeed, that it hardly seemed possible to us that this could be his work, so superior is it in every respect. It represents a summer afternoon in the wild and beautiful scenery of the Wasatch Mountains, in Utah territory. The snowy peaks in the distance and sterile crags that overhand the valley are painted in a most masterly and effective manner, while the atmospheric effects are simply admirable. The foliage in the foreground and grouping of the trees are also good. This picture was purchased at the recent reception at the Mercantile Library Museum by one of our prominent citizens for a round sum. …" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.3 c.3]
1870 Mar 22 —
"AMONG THE PAINTINGS recently exhibited at the Mercantile
Library building was one of the Wahsatch Mountains, Utah Valley, by
Munger. This picture hung upon the walls without exciting any
particular comments from the self-constituted committee of critics who daily
filed past, with a stereotyped nod, shrug and wave of the hand,
indispensable among connoisseurs; yet the moneyed men didn't see it; and the
impecunious couldn't see it, much as they wished to. And yet it was as good
a picture as was ever on exhibition in this city, not surpassed by anything
ever taken from Bierstadt's easel, full of study, experience, sentiment and
poetry, with an atmosphere and a perspective as correct as if you were
looking through a window at just so much of the earth's surface. The clump
of trees at the left, without anything else, stamp him an artist. The Indian
encampment, the home-like farmhouse nestled among the foliage, the lazy
climbing smoke, the distant hamlet, the grandeur and adamantine solidity of
the mountains at left, changing to transparent vapor as they slide down the
rolling globe, even as the vivid realities of today disappear in the dreamy
haziness of fading memory. -MAGILP"
[AH - San Francisco Call, p.1 c.3]
NOTE  Possibly the painting described here is #31 in this catalog.
1870 Mar 27 —
"Mr. Gilbert Munger,
whose skill as a landscape painter has won him a brilliant reputation in the
Atlantic States, is occupied in painting a series of miniature
landscapes. In these he is singularly successful. He has a conscientious
feeling for Nature, and enough poetry to temper the harshness of the real
with the softness of the ideal. A fair example of his style my be seen in a
picture representing the Falls of Minnehaha, and to which the
attention of the connoisseur is directed. It may be seen at the Gallery of
Snow & Roos.
Mr. John R. Key is something of the same school as the former; but the coloring is essentially different. Munger delights in the neutral; Key deals in the positive. Yet so various is Nature, that no deviation from truth is seen in the different interpretations. …" [AH - "Art in San Francisco by Caliban" in Alta California, p.2 c.3]
NOTE  Alfred Harrison reports that Caliban was Mr. Hector A. Stuart, a San Francisco art critic.
1870 Apr 3 — "The much admired picture of Wasatch Mountain Utah Valley, painted by Gilbert Munger, has found a purchaser, and is left on exhibition at Snow & Roos' gallery for a few days. Few landscape have ever been so much praised by critics and connoisseurs here as this. It gives the bold, heroic character of the mountain ranges, the summer verdure of the valley, and the warm haze that obscures the base of the range with wonderful effect. Nothing can be better than the artistic touch with which the atmosphere of the distance is painted; one can see the yellowish, sunny haze which rises along the distant plain; and from which the cool peaks of the mountain rise firmly and clearly against the sky. The picture is pronounced by competent judges to be almost a perfect creation." [Alta California, p.2 c.3]
1870 Apr 4 —
"LOCAL ART ITEMS - Art in San Francisco, or the business of
Art, sympathizes with the general depression in trade; yet the artists
themselves are as industrious as ever. Many are availing of the delightful
spring season to make fresh studies of our scenery, recognizing that their
best successes are to come from careful treatment of original themes. Mr.
Key and Mr. Munger, who came here only for a brief visit, have
prolonged their stay because of the climate and the richness of material for
landscape studies enchant them. Their paintings of California scenery are
remarkable for fidelity and such works as Mr. Key's Lake Tahoe, Big Trees,
and Point Lobos and Mr. Munger's Missions scenes, studies of
California palms, San Francisco Bay scenes, etc., are valuable additions to
our local school.
At the gallery of Snow & Roos may be seen Mr. Munger's Wasatch Mountain View, which we have heretofore pronounced one of the best landscapes by any artist ever exhibited in this city. The foreground is capitally painted, the valley distance has a fine aerial perspective, the rising vapor at the base of the mountain is nicely felt, the mountains themselves have strength and majesty and the local color and effect are well preserved throughout. It is a conscientious and skillful work. The numerous interesting works by Bierstadt, Buchanan Reade, Thomas Hill, and Kensett, … are still on exhibition in this gallery. …" [AH - San Francisco Evening Bulletin]
1870 Apr 22 —
At the Sacramento Art Union "Mr. Munger has a very
beautiful scene of a mountain lake, with castles, etc., which, though small,
cannot fail to attract attention."
[AH - Sacramento Bee, p.3 c.2]
NOTE  The term "castles" may refer to rocky crags rather than buildings.
1870 Apr 22 — "CAME LAST NIGHT - The Wasatch Mountains arrived by last night's boat - that is, Munger's great painting, which is said to be a perfect representation of that grand old mountain range 'where vast walls have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps.' It will be in place at the Art Union Gallery this evening." [AH - Sacramento Bee, p.3 c.4]
1870 Apr 24 — Two of the stanzas from "A Desultory Poem" by Caliban
In landscapes, Munger claims a worthy place.
Neutral in tone his pictures never glare
With hues incarnate, such as we may trace
In some that boast a more pretentious air;
But rife with soft and unpretending grace,
Such as becomes the modest of the fair;
They spread their beauties in a quiet way,
And to be felt require a long survey.
Key is his comrade, and Key you must know,
Paints much like him, but in a different Key;
That loves the sober hue, this the weird glow,
As nature tints their eyes diversely see -
Yet both the palettes mystic functions show
In sea-scapes, ruins and wild scenery:
Key's brilliant color always takes the eye -
His figure takes the girls' - 'tis six feet high!
[AH - The Golden Gate, p.2 c.6]
1870 May 5 —
"LOCAL ART NOTES - The Sacramento papers abound in notices
of an art exhibition which has been opened in that city for the benefit of
the Howard Benevolent Society. As a whole it is not of as high a character
as it might be, but contains a few paintings of much merit. The number of
pictures catalogues is 70. A number of the artists of San Francisco have
contributed pictures. Munger's Utah Valley, the property of
Mr. Snow, which was so much admired here, figures in the gallery. The same
artist contributes several other works, including a fine view of Big
Cottonwood Cañon, which is remarkable for its realization of rock, its
suggestion of height, its nicely-felt middle distance, its b yet
careful handling. …
… Mr. Munger is at work on a view of the ocean beach south of Cliff House, which is already very striking and faithful. It will be noticed more fully hereafter. …" [AH - San Francisco Bulletin, p.3 c.5]
1870 May 13 — "THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE PACIFIC, by Munger, an oil painting, 24 by 42; view from the last eminence on the road before descending to the 'Cliff.' The artist has taken his standpoint in the field, a few yards to the left of the road, just the place where the blue Pacific flashes itself for the first time upon the sight of the overland traveler. The picture is most intensely Californian; the peculiar type of ridgy hill, conglomerate of sand, earth and concrete, dotted over with the purple-gray lupin, and dusty, brown, stunted, wind-battled bushes, characteristic of the few miles about the Golden Gate, where the trade wind comes in, blowing, from his long ocean race. The dark firm breadth of the hill, so direct against the long, warm, yellow sand of the beach, stretching miles away against the hazy blue of the ocean, with its dividing line of snowy foam, gives a perspective of remarkable, simple and natural beauty, creating a strength to the foreground, where no masses of rock, no clumps of trees, dwellings or figures have enabled the artist to give artificial force to his picture. Its entire simplicity is its power; and we are glad to say that a gentleman from the East had sufficient appreciation to purchase it for one thousand dollars before it had left the easel. - MAGILP" [AH - San Francisco Call, p.3 c.2]
1870 May 17 — "Mr. Munger is at work on a view of the ocean beach south of the Cliff House, which is already very striking and faithful." [MM - from article titled "Art in California" in New York Evening Post, p.1 c.2]
1870 May 28 — "A Glimpse of the Pacific - This is the expressive title of an admirable painting lately executed by Gilbert Munger, and now on exhibition at the rooms of Snow & Roos. The foreground is laid among the hills south of the Cliff House, overlooking the sea beach and taking, of course, a broad stretch of the Pacific Ocean, beyond the Farallone Islands being dimly perceptible near the right of the picture, on the horizon. The general tone of the painting is cool, and might be called low in color. The sky is partially obscured by thin clouds, and the distance and water are painted in with a misty effect which is faithful to nature and unusually tender in treatment. The foreground is painted broadly, embracing such a wide scope in the comparatively small compass that it might almost be called a 'birdseye view.' The browsing goats among the tufts of herbage, the few figures on the rim of the sharp hill in the middle distance and the low shrubbery of the sheltered hollows, are all drawn with a niceness which is almost microscopic in detail and finish but are only in miniature, relatively. The whole foreground is a marvel of artistic power and feeling, the general effect being that of breadth, ? being wonderfully faithful. The glimpse of the distant Pacific is very fine, and the whole picture has a reposeful suggestion eminently befitting the 'Glimpse of the Peaceful Sea.'" [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1870 May 30 —
"MARIN COUNTY ITEMS.
Mr. Munger, the artist, is still engaged sketching Tamalpais and surrounding country. … ." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1870 Jun 5 — "Among the ablest of our landscape painters may be ranked Mr. Gilbert Munger, whose works are distinguished by a quiet but natural tone of color, a free, light and expressive pencil, and a poetic choice of situations. His last picture, A Glimpse of the Pacific, has won deserved admiration, both from critics and those whose taste and cultivation give their opinions a claim to consideration. The scene is remarkable for its simplicity, and in this much of its merit lies; for the eye is usually pleased by that which costs it little effort to comprehend. It is a passage of the rude but picturesque region adjacent to the Cliff House. A valley, covered with (illegible) and the stunted vegetation of that locality, sweeps down to the foreground, running back into the mid-distance in a range of serrated hills. Beyond these, a long sandy beach extends, and beyond this, the boundless waters of the Pacific, its verge lost in thin, quiescent vapors, and its bosom hushed in repose. The most striking embodiment of quiet - the antithesis of tumult; and as we gaze upon it, it brings the lines of Gray forcibly to recollection:
Hark! How the sacred calm that breathes around
Bids every fierce, tumultuous passion cease
Instill small ascents whispering from the ground
A grateful earnest of eternal peace.
Yet though a work of unusual merit it has its faults, which, however, are
small in comparison with its manifold excellencies. This strikes us as most
pertinent - an absence of light and the uncertain hour at which the scene is
supposed to be represented. By the first we do not mean that the picture is
void of light; on the contrary, it is as light as love, but there is a
manifest lack of light and a sequence of shadow throughout the entire work.
There is no sunlight visible; yet it is not a foggy day, as the cerulean sky
and the dreamy clouds on the horizon fully demonstrate. Again the time is
uncertain. We do not know whether it is midday, an afternoon or a twilight
effect. It might be either of these or all combined, and yet be as good an
evidence of the occasion. However, there are, as we have remarked, small
faults, yet we feel it right to speak of them, believing it to be the duty
of those who are resolved to criticize to act their part conscientiously,
and while the praise where it is deserved should not be blind to the
imperfections of the subject criticized. (Illegible), and nine out of ten men will go
with it faster to the devil than by any other agency we know - women,
perhaps, excepted. The wise man will look for just criticism; and concede to
the truth of the axiom, that it is better to be 'damned than mentioned not
In other respects this picture is a fine sample of the limner's art. The sky is warm and full of atmosphere; the clouds light and lustrous, but a little vague in formation. The color tender and harmonious, the distance well-retired and the general feeling of the picture gentle and poetic. It was sold for the sum of one thousand dollars. A high figure, but not above its value." [Alta California, p.2 c.3]
1870 summer — Crescent Lake at the head of the Merced River, Artists Sketching, Mariposa Co., [The left half of an albumen stereograph published as No. 1287 by John P Soule of Boston. ca. 1870; Available online at the New York Public Library Digital Archives and numerous other websites.]
Several knowledgeable art historian believe this photo shows Munger at the left and "his boon companion in sketching tours" John Ross Key at the right. You will notice in other entries for 1870 that they presented several joint exhibitions in San Francisco. The photo has to have been taken after the snow melted in the Yosemite high country and before Munger went with the King Expedition to Mt Shasta at the end of August. [Thanks to Kate Nearpass Ogden for a pointer to a digital copy of this photo and her concurring opinion on the persons depicted.]
1870 Jul 21 — Munger is reported to be still working on his picture of Mt. Tamalpais from San Rafael. [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.1 c.2]
1870 Aug 11 —
"Following passengers departed Ogden, Utah on August 11, 1870 on the
west-bound Overland Train. These passengers arrived at the Oakland, California wharf
on August 13, 1870:
S.F. Emmons (Boston, Mass.)
And the following members of the United States Geological Survey for Washington Territory:
Colonel C. King
A.B. Clark" [Rasmussen, v.1 p.7]
NOTE  Munger is not on the list as he is already in San Francisco.
1870 Aug 18 — Munger visits Samuel Franklin Emmons' room in San Francisco. [Emmons]
1870 Aug 18 —
"THE FINE ARTS - Two Paintings by Munger
Beyond the Heads - Munger has just finished two more pictures, one of Tamalpais, and one of Beyond the Heads, the southern hinge of the Golden Gate, where the fog-bell gives its dreadful note of warning to the benighted mariner who come to near the cruel rocks, toward which, their ally, the treacherous sea labors, unceasingly to dash him on. The sight of this bright, fresh, breezy, salt-scented picture of coast and sea, seems, almost to expand the chest; extend the nostrils with the pleasurable sense of revitalizing ocean air. The massive wall, barring out the sea; the velvety patches of green and yellow vegetation, nursed and brightened by the heavy fogs, given that peculiar type to sea-coast rocks and banks; the lupin, with delicate grayish, purplish, blue, like little flecks of the distant sea, blown in from the horizon, and settled on the shore; the prowling, restless, panting look of the foaming breakers on the beach, rushing into every nook and crevice, hurrying around every rocky obstacle, and retreating only to return as eagerly as before, as if in hope that as last some mop-hole might be found to undermine the never flinching rock, eternally on guard and disputing its advance. The beautiful green of the shallow water loses itself in the blue, which fades away until it slides over the horizon's edge into eternity.
Tamalpais - The view of Tamalpais is from the town of San Rafael; and looks familiar and perfectly homelike to those living there; not the blue, cold, monotonous alp, seen by us in San Francisco, or by those sailing on the harbor, but a tangible, verdure-covered mountain, with its countless cañons, gorges and passes; its innumerable pines - called redwoods, generally - the hazy mist, floating half-way up the side, out of which comes, into the pure upper air, clear, dark, and hard as from the head of this grand, benevolent, sanitary King, shoes broad-spreading form ever turns the cold sea-fogs, miles away, on either side from his favorite valley, where peacefully sleeps San Rafael and Nicasio, the paradise of invalids and weary men; the healthfullest spot on this great round globe." [AH - San Francisco Daily Morning Call, p.2 c.2]
1870 Aug 19 — "The Overland circle had taken the artist Munger up with enthusiasm …" [Wilkins, p.142]
1870 Aug 19 — "Plans changed. King and I return and do up odd jobs, discuss going to Sacramento this afternoon, and decide not to go. Spent time at Harte's looking over Munger's sketches, putting snow into 'Lake Marian' and desecrating Starr King's bust (or possibly knob?)" [GS - Emmons]
1870 Aug 24 —
"LOCAL ART ITEMS - There is a little more activity in the
art circles lately, and several fine pictures are to be seen at the studios
and art agencies.
MOUNT TAMALPAIS ON CANVAS - Gilbert Munger exhibits at Snow & Roos' as the result of two months' conscientious open air work, a noble view of Mount Tamalpais, taken from a point about one mile back of San Rafael. This familiar landmark, which guards the Golden Gate on the north is the most beautiful peak about the Bay. It has been a favorite with the pencil of Keith and the pens of Stoddard and now Mr. Munger reproduces it for us with a fidelity and strength truly admirable. (Long detailed description of the painting appears here.) In saying that Mr. Munger's picture shows us all this, we have paid the highest compliment to his skill and honesty as an artist; but we should add that the picture is nicely handled, that there is judicious attention to detail, and that it is characterized generally by mingled delicacy and strength.
A PACIFIC COAST VIEW - Mr. Munger also exhibits another coast scene, called Beyond the Heads which is a very close study of a spot on the ocean south side of the Golden Gate. (Detailed description of the painting appears here.) It is a better expression of nearly the same scene which we have before described in noticing Mr. Munger's Glimpse of the Pacific. It is a pleasure to see art pursued in a spirit so conscientious. Mr. Munger will soon make a trip to Mt. Shasta and Mount Hood, which noted peaks he intends to paint for exhibition at the east.
… Mr. Shalpleigh's trip thither was characteristic of the adventurous spirit of recent American art, as illustrated by Church, Bierstadt, Bradford, and Munger.
…" [AH - San Francisco Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1870 Aug 27 — "Jacksonville (Oregon) 14 November 1870 - My dear Arthur (writer's brother): We left (San Francisco) on August 27 by steamer for Sacramento, and thence by rail to Chico the N Terminus of the Calif. & Oregon R.R. Here we got together our outfits, Clarke having to get 18 Govt. Mules from Nevada. We had our army wagon, and Watkins' photographic wagon; our party consisted of King, Munger, Watkins, the two Clarke's … Munger, though disappointed as to the small amount of snow, got to work steadily, and soon had a fine picture of the mountain on his easel. …" [GS - Emmons]
1870 Aug 28 —
"Another Picture of Mount Tamalpais - Gilbert Munger
is doing more to bring to public notice the artistic resources in California
scenery than any landscape painter whose pictures have been shown here. It
is too true of many painters that one can hardly be sure whether their
pictures are of Sierra or Rocky Mountain scenery, of California or
England atmosphere, so deficient are they in local characteristics and
color. Of course, this is not true of most of the California landscape
painters; many of them seized upon the salient peculiarities of local
scenery, and some few have imbibed the subtle spirit of the atmosphere, and
have caught the real spirit of nature's handiwork. But Munger has
come nearer in to these mysteries than any other. His painting of the
Tamalpais, now on exhibit at Snow & Roos' gallery, for instance, can never
be mistaken for any other mountain, nor for a picture of any other part of
the world, by any one who has seen California, or who knows the mountain. If
we wanted to send a 'sample chip' of California to any who cannot see this
space for himself, we might send this picture with complete confidence and
The subject is not promising: it has almost no distance; the rugged green peak rises sturdily and sharply against the sky. But the artist has contrived, while conscientiously interpreting nature, to infuse a poetic feeling into his work, which bespeaks the true artist. The time chosen is when comes still evening on, and an air of solemn repose falls on the scene. The mountain is no longer gay and garish in the sunlight, but has taken on a mysterious veil of gloom; light flocks of joy come drifting in from the westward across the mountain's brow. The sun has gone its last rays but linger in the sky, bringing out the velvet-like green of the Peak, and throwing the deep scars of the mountain into brown and purpling shadows. Lower down, the light strikes warm and golden across the subordinate ridge, relieving the picture from would be its utter somberness. The lower range slops gently into a level valley, verdurous and pastoral, through which winds the blue thread of Laganitas Creek. Here and there, a farmhouse gives some human interest to the picture, and tall thin columns of smoke rising straight up from homely chimneys, mark the stillness of the air and suggest evening time. The foreground on the right is a sloping hill, inclining to the centre of the picture, and that on the left is a vigorous painted acclivity, broken with rock and rich in the color of summer grasses and herbage. A group of admirably draw redwoods are painted ably against the opal evening sky, their rugged tops catching the last yellow light of the sun. The whole picture is admirable for its conscientiousness of detail and the poetic feeling which pervades it.
Beyond the Heads - This is the title of another of Munger's picture, more positive in tone and color than his Glimpse of the Pacific, of which some notice has been heretofore made in these columns. The viewpoint is one the shore between Fort Point and Seal Rocks, not far from the spot where the 'Shah Jehan' was wrecked some years since. The foreground slopes brokenly down to a brown and rocky beach. The centre of the middle distance is marked by a bold and craggy headland, brown to as its rocks, but brilliantly and vividly green as to its grasses which cling to the thin soil. Beyond, and rimming the middle distance of the picture, are the white breakers, broken here and there with cool gray shadows, and beyond all is ocean's waste of waters dotted with a few sails. The foreground is simple, delicate, and refined. The pale tints of the blue lupines and artemisia predominates, save in the nearer foreground, where a bolder color is dashed in. A broken bank on the left, rich in browns and ochers, gives great firmness and richness to that part of the picture. The whole work is a careful and laborious study of nature. It has breeze, coolness, and atmosphere. And those who love 'The Melancholy Main' will come to look upon it often and often; and this is only what nature faithfully depicted on canvas can exact." [Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1870 Sep 6 — "Reach Sissons (a country inn just west of Shasta) about four - nice camp with magnificent view of Shasta, which however is somewhat disappointing at first in account of absence of snow." [GS - Emmons]
1870 Sep 8 — "Munger makes good headway with his picture, from meadow just East of Sissons" [Emmons]
1870 Sep 13 — "admire Munger's picture, which has progressed nicely." [Emmons]
1870 Sep 15 — "Mr. Gilbert Munger, who left for California something more than a year ago, has painted several landscape pictures since he has been in the State, which have challenged and received admiration of some of the severest critics. The Alta California speaks of two of his pictures as follows: (Appears here an excerpt from the 28 August 1870 article.)" [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
1870 Sep 30 — "Notice to Subscribers to Snow & Roos' Art Gallery. — Just received from New York, GILBERT MUNGER'S CELEBRATED PAINTING, 'THE FALLS OF MINI-HA-HA', Size 7½ feet by 9 feet. The Gallery having been rearranged, with the addition of the above, and other fine Paintings, will be open after FRIDAY, 80th inst. Annual Family Subscription, $5. Single admission, 25 cents." [San Francisco Chronicle, p.2.]
1870 Sep 30 —
"ART ITEMS - The Art Gallery of Snow & Roos has been
reopened with a collection of ? original paintings, exclusive of some not
catalogued. The list includes about fifty not before exhibited. The
principal novelty is Munger's Falls of Minnehaha, a large
picture, 7½ x 9 feet which strikes one at the end of the gallery on
entering. It has been very successfully exhibited at the east, where it has
been much praised and was imported by Snow & Roos expressly for display in
their gallery here; the ? is marked by Mr. Munger's characteristic
fidelity to nature and by that delicacy and truth of touch in which he
resembles Kensett. The falling motion of the water and its transparency are
well indicated, and the stretch of level prairie above, - for the falls seem
to tumble over an abrupt break in a wide plain - is faithfully sketched. The
rock underlying the prairie is very closely studied. The work is very
… Munger has gone to Mt. Shasta, intending to both climb and paint it. He accompanies a party of geologists. He will afterwards go to Oregon and Washington Territory, where he intends to make sketches of Mt. Hood.
…" [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1870 Sep 30 — "PICTURES - Re-opening of Snow & Roos' Art Gallery - The art gallery of Messers. Snow & Roos, No. 21 Kearny Street, has been re-opened. It contains now one hundred and thirty-nine paintings, fifty one of which are (missing words, possibly 'for sale'). Of these latter, there are some worthy of notice. No. 1, The Falls of Minnehaha, by Munger, occupies the place of honor in the gallery. Is a large and carefully executed work, of considerable, though not overwhelming, merit. …" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.3 c.1]
1870 Sep — Artist Thaddeus Welch tells the story:
In the meantime, several of us determined to hunt a cool place when the summer's work should be over. Our party consisted of four besides myself. A two-horse team and wagon carried us and our camping outfit. Our destination was Fall River Valley, East of Mount Shasta. I had my paints and brushes along; nothing smaller that Mt. Shasta would do those days.
We were four or five days making the trip. At old Fort Crook, on Fall River I left the others and rode a lumber wagon to Sheep Rock, on the North fork of the Shasta Butte, where I made a number of sketches.
At the same time, Clarence King with his party of geological surveyors were at the same place. Gilbert Munger, the artist, and Watkins the photographer were also of the party. H. R. Bloomer was a Sissons on the West side, so there wasn't much danger of Shasta getting away. …
1870 Sep — "When our tents were pitched at Sisson's, while a picturesque haze floated up from southwards, we enjoyed the grand, uncertain form of Shasta with its heaven-piercing crest of white .. but we liked to sit at evening near Munger's easel, watching the great lava cone glow with light almost as wild and lurid as if the crater still steamed." [King, p.713]
1870 Oct 8 — "The most striking - because largest - picture at Snow & Roos' art gallery is Munger's Minnehaha Falls. Minnehaha, we may explain to the reader innocent of Chippeway, means Laughing Water. If this water laughs, it is not with a very liquid ripple. In very truth the fall looks like a cataract of mosquito netting flowing jerkily over a post-and-rail fence. There are some good trees, and a pretty squaw and her nasty lord mar the foreground. The rocks seems to have been very carefully invented. …" [AH - San Francisco Letter, p.8, c.1]
1870 Oct 10 —
"Gilbert Munger is at Mount Shasta, in the King
Geological Survey party, making sketches and studies from nature. He will
produce something worthwhile if he attempts any extensive and finished
pictures of Mt. Shasta. Mr. Munger is one of the most faithful and
conscientious landscape artists who have ever made California scenery a
specialty; no other artist has so thoroughly entered into the spirit of
local character as he.
Falls of Minnehaha - One of Mr. Munger's pictures. with the above title, is now on exhibition at Snow & Roos' Gallery. It is ambitious in size and style of treatment, but is not so vividly real and genuine in hue and atmosphere as some of his later works. The fall is thin in volume and the watery veil, as it descends, is admirably painted, the idea of motion, dash, and tremor of the flood being capitally given. There is some good painting on the circling rocky base of the fall, and the management of the foliage is good; but the general effect is not satisfactory, being entirely destitute of that freshness and tender firmness which the same artist has shown in pictures executed during his sojourn on this coast." [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.3]
1870 Oct 10 — "Munger is still out sketching. He will probably return before Christmas with a load of wearisome sketches." [AH - San Francisco Daily Morning Call, p.1 c.2]
1870 Oct 11 — "ART NOTES - Want of time for observation has hitherto prevented our making mention of Snow & Roos' Art Gallery, which has recently been rearranged, replenished, and re-opened to the public. As it may be some time still until we have the opportunity to make any elaborate or individual mention of the paintings therein displayed, we may mention now that lovers of art will find many things on sits walls that will repay a visit. We regret that the managers have seen fit to make Munger's Falls of Minnehaha so prominent a feature, for it would be difficult to imagine a painting of greater atrocity. One would violate no ordinance, human or divine, in worshiping it, for it represents nothing in the heavens, nor upon the earth, nor in the waters under the earth. We never saw anything like it, except upon the stage of a theatre, where spotted white gauze, kept in perpetual motion by unhappy 'supes' was relied upon to remind the audience that there should be falling water in that place. But among all the crudities and abominations which disfigure the walls, visitors will find several works worth a leisurely inspection, and which promise something better from their authors in the future." [AH - San Francisco Call, p.2 c.3]
1870 Nov 14 — "Passengers for San Francisco. - The North Pacific Transportation Company's steamship, California, Captain H. M. Gregory, sailed from this port Saturday evening [would be November 12th] for San Francisco. The following is her list of passengers: Annie Johnson, Jennie Johnson, D B Nye, E L Hartness, F B Viers, E Austin, J Smith, Lieut E D Schenok, S G Reed and wife, A G Brown, T D Hencilly, Thos Lore, J D Warren, J W Sloan and wife, W Waldo, J Christman, J Osborn, Capt J S Lawson and wife, Capt Pollock, W Jackson and wife, H A Works, W W Mitchell and wife, I F Parrish, Judge L Sawyer, E Dusenberry, E Brown, J Frazier, J Brown, A Hague, G Munger, G A Paine, J J Gilbert, J T Watson, Miss Belt, J J man and wife, R M Rapbury, A H Morgan, Isaac Durkerly, B F Cardwell, wife and child, J Hunt, Col Ludington, D Love, Wells, Fargo & Co's Messenger, and twenty-five in the steerage." [Morning Oregonian (Portland), p.3 c.2]
Period 4: Interlude back east - New York and St. Paul
1870 Nov 21 — Arnold, Palmer, Munger & I off at 8 by train. From the number of a certain class of females on the train M judges that times are hard in S.F. Reach Sacramento at 2. King appears …" [GS - Emmons]
1870 Nov 22 — "ART ITEMS - … Munger returned to the east on the 21st inst. After a successful sojourn of a year in California, during which he has made many faithful and interesting studies of Pacific mountain scenery, from the Wasatch Range in Utah, to the Yosemite in the Sierra, Mt. Tamalpais in the Coast range, and Mounts Shasta, Hood, and Adams in the Northern Cascade Range. On his recent trip, in company with Clarence King's geological party, he made the ascent of Mt. Shasta and spent six weeks in the valley at its base, making daily studies in color of the grand peak. Shasta, though 14,440 feet high, and about 12,000 feet above the plain at its base, is not a difficult mountain to climb. Parties can ride on mule or horseback to within little more than an hour's foot-climb to the summit. The trip is laborious and wearisome, but not dangerous, unless one insists in tramping over the glacier now known to exist on its flank. Watkins, the celebrated landscape photographer of San Francisco, accompanied King's party, had his instruments and appliances packed up the higher slopes on men's backs, and took a number of magnificent views of and from the crater and other prominent features, some of which, we presume, will in due time be published. Mr. Munger's studies in oil, showing the whole bulk of the peak, were made on usually large canvases for field sketches, so being a large as 22 by 44 inches, and they are as elaborate as to the mountain alone as finished pictures. He has been remarkably successful in getting the topography, the sculpture of the mountain, not showing it as a flat pyramid, but exhibiting its gorges, clefts and crags, its snow beds, its shadows and its wonderful variety of color. The ruddy glow that illumes the peak at morning, not evening he has caught with effecting truth. Mt. Hood he studies with almost equal thoroughness, although the climate and the season, being wetter and later, were less favorable to field painting. When clouds and mists did not obscure or completely hide the mountain, big winds shook his canvass, or carried it bodily off. Hood, like Shasta and Rainier, has its local glacier, and its position is shown in Mr. Munger's largest sketch. A colder tone pervades the landscape surrounding the base of this peak than that about Shasta, though its lesser bulk is equally grand in perspective. No other artist has so thoroughly and faithfully sketched these noble peaks, and we anticipate that he will delight New York with the large pictures he intends to paint there from his numerous sketches, including many details of scenery, of trees, plants, rocks and living figures. One thing is certain - his paintings will be entirely true in detail as well as in grand general features, in local color and atmosphere, as well as in topography. They will not be compositions. This assurance is of great value in regard to the professed portraits of noted scenes. …" [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.5]
1870 Nov 28 — "Find King & Munger at Salt Lake House - King is painting 'Off the Head.' Plenty of talking & joking." [Emmons]
1870 Nov 29 — "King & Munger paint." [Emmons]
1870 Dec 5 — Emmons, King, and Munger are in St. Louis. [Emmons]
1870 Dec 7 — "A HEAVY JOB OF PAINTING.- A bay paper, says the Sacramento Reporter, states that Munger has gone to Mount Shasta for the purpose of painting it. He has an immense job on hand and will use a vast amount of paint before it is completed." [Yreka (CA) Journal]
1871 Mar 4 — Munger paintings shown at Century Association, New York: Lake Lao Antkai Mnts (?); Lake Marion Humboldt Mountains. [Yarnell]
1871 Mar 4 —
WE WILL SELL ON TUESDAY MARCH 7, 1871 AT No. 803 Hyde st., Corner Sutter,
A fine collection of CHOICE PAINTINGS,
Including the two celebrated Paintings by GILBERT MUNGER Esq, of
TAMALPAIS AND BEYOND THE HEADS
GEO. F. LAMSON, Auctioneer." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1871 Apr 11 — "Gilbert Munger, since his return from the Pacific coast has taken a studio at No. 1,155 Broadway. Two of his recently finished works are View on the California Coast and the Utah Valley, with the Wasatch Mountains in the background. Both examples are carefully painted, and present the picturesque features of western scenery in a manner at once interesting and beautiful. The pictures will represent the artist in the coming exhibition of the National Academy of Design." [MM - New York Evening Post p.1 c.1]
1871 Apr 17 —
"FINE ARTS - Forty-sixth Annual Exhibition of the National
Academy of Design - The North Room - "Among the most noticeable here are …
Lake Lal, Uintah Mountains, by Gilbert Munger, whose views of
Western scenery have the inestimable advantage of being, in every case, the
fruit of conscientious study on the spot. …
The West Room - Here the visitor notices particularly … A Glimpse of the Pacific, by Gilbert Munger …" [AH - New York Herald, p.3 c.4]
1871 Apr 20 — "This house [Snow & Roos] lately sold Gilbert Munger's Falls of the Minnehaha at a good price." [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.2 c.2]
1871 Apr 20 —
Two fine works by Charles Nahl are now on exhibition at the gallery of Nahl Brothers, opposite the Lick House. …
Albert Bierstadt is expected here during May. His celebrated picture of The Emerald Pool may be brought out about the same time. Snow & Roos have been negotiating for it, for exhibition in their gallery. This house lately sold Gilbert Munger's Falls of Minnehaha at a good price. The New York Post refers to this artist, who has returned to that city, as follows:"
Two of his recent finished works are, View on the California Coast and the Utah Valley, with the Wasatch Mountains in the background. Both examples are carefully painted, and present the picturesque features of western scenery in a manner at once interesting and beautiful. The pictures will represent the artist in the coming exhibition of the National Academy of Design.
[San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1871 Apr 30 — "FINE ARTS - The Spring Exhibition of the National Academy of Design - West Room - … A Glimpse of the Pacific, (No. 305.) by Gilbert Munger, seems only a little less hard than some of this artist's previous works. …" [AH - New York Times, p.3 c.7]
1871 Apr — Munger shows three paintings at the Exhibition of the National Academy of Design in New York: Lake-Lal, Uintah Mts, listed as owned by Clarence King; Lake Marion, Humboldt Mountains, listed as owned by Clarence King; A Glimpse of the Pacific, listed as for sale. Munger's address is given as 1155 Broadway. [NAD Exhibition Catalog]
1871 May 9 — A Munger painting is at San Francisco Art Association: Wasatch Mountains. [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.3]
1871 May 21 —
"ART NOTES -
… Gilbert Munger is again to set his face towards the setting sun. His pictures have already indicated how rich a harvest is yet to be reaped by the artist, who will venture farther away than the Hudson and Lake George, and study the incomparable scenery which DeForest, in that truly American novel, Overland, in the Galaxy, with its 'grand, gloomy and peculiar' views of the great canyon of the Colorado, and Clarence King, in his Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, in the Atlantic Monthly, so vividly describes. Mr. Munger will this summer explore the great Snake river or Lewis Fork of the Columbia. …" [AH - New York Herald, p.5 c.5]
NOTE  One wonders if Munger actually went west this summer. But this and the 1871 Jun 3 article in Watson's Art Journal suggest he did and we have no specific evidence of him being elsewhere during this time.
1871 May 27 —
"Following passengers departed Ogden, Utah on May 27, 1871 on
the west-bound Overland Train. These passengers arrived at the Oakland, California
wharf on May 29, 1871:
Clarence King (Washington)
A.B. Clark (Washington)
Footnote — Separate reports note that Clarence King was a U.S. geologist and he was accompanied by his clerk, Albert B. Clark. King stopped for a short period in San Francisco and then proceeded to the North to conduct topographical and geological surveys of the belt of country lying between Fort Bridger, Wyoming Territory and Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. In the spring he was to visit Alaska to complete examination of Mt. St. Elias and the other volcanic group of mountains in the area." [Rasmussen, p.145,242]
1871 Jun 1 — "Landscapes in the National Academy - … G. Munger has a Glimpse of the Pacific, which we prefer to several others of his works in the present exhibition. …" [AH - The Independent (New York), p.4 c.6]
1871 Jun 1 —
To the Subscribers of the
St. Paul Pioneer;
Including the late residence of Captain
Wm. F. Davidson,
In St. Paul, Minn. Cost over $50,000. The
celebrated Oil Painting of Minnehaha Falls,
by Gilbert Munger. Forty-four Elgin
Watches, in Gold and silver cases —
the best watch manufactured.
(Shares in the) Oil Paintings, Farms, Timber Lands, Sewing Machines, Greenbacks, Gold, &c. will be distributed to the subscribers of the St. Paul Pioneer on the 6th day of September, 1871, at the Opera House in St. Paul by the following gentlemen, …" [The Freeborn County Standard (MN), p.3]
NOTE  The St. Paul Opera House was managed by Gilbert's brother Russell.
1871 Jun 3 — "Mr. Munger, the landscape artist, who has already painted so many charming pictures of American scenery, will this summer explore the great Snake River, or Lewis Fork of the Columbia River, with the object of making some fine sketches from the wild and picturesque scenery with which this part of the country abounds." [AH - Watson's Art Journal, p.55 c.3]
1871 Jul 6 — Munger paintings shown at Yale School of Fine Arts in New Haven: Lake Lal, Uintah Mts owned by Clarence King; Lake Marian, Humboldt Mts; A Glimpse of the Pacific, California. [Yarnell]
1871 Jul 7 — "YALE SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS. Reception last Evening. The third annual exhibition of the Yale School of Fine Art was opened for a private view and reception last evening in the Street Art Building, Haven. … Gilbert Munger is represented by Lake Marian, Humboldt Mountains; …" [The New York Evening Post, p.2 c.5]
1871 Jul 29 — "THE ART GALLERY - Bierstadt's Emerald Pool - A few notes on Other Pictures - The pleasant Art Gallery of Snow & Roos has been refitted and reopened to its annual subscribers and the public. There are altogether about 100 paintings on the walls, including a number not before exhibited. … There are three little gems on the mantle: … In the Cascade Mountains, by Munger, a very crisp, delicately painted bit of rock, tree and water. …" [AH - San Francisco Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1871 Aug — Snow & Roos catalog lists #124 In the Cascade Mountains by Gilbert Munger. [AH - Exhibition Catalog]
1871 Aug — Emmons hosts Henry Adams on a two week "stunner" of a trip in canyons of the Green River. [Wilkins, p.164]
1871 Sep 9 — "… Mr. Carmany also loaned the (San Francisco Art) Association a Winter in California, by Munger, originally intended for reproduction in chromo as a title page for a holiday number of the Overland. The picture is a little gem. …" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.3 c.4]
1871 Sep 9 — "Second Art Association Reception - … B. P. Avery also loans a small sized view of the Wahsatch mountains, by Gilbert Munger, which pleases us better than more pretentious productions by the same artist. …" [AH - San Francisco Call, p.3 c.2]
1871 Sep 9 — "Second Art Association Reception - … The Wasatch Mountains, near Salt lake, form the subject for a fine painting from the brush of Gilbert Munger, who is now in the East. It is very faithful in color, and is delicately handled. …" [AH - San Francisco Bulletin, p.2 c.3]
1871 Sep 27 —
"THE ART DEPARTMENT
This is by all odds the finest department at the exhibition, and the number and variety of splendid oil paintings exhibited is indeed wonderful. It comprises a room separate and distinct from the other departments, and is under the management and superintendence of Mr. Gilbert Munger, the talented young artist so well known throughout Minnesota as the gentleman who made the splendid painting of Minnehaha a few years ago. The room is partially lighted by sky lights, and partially windows, and filled as it is with some of the most imposing oil paintings in the west (many of them works of the old masters) makes a grand feature of the fair.
The residences of the wealthiest and most cultivated residents of St. Paul were robbed of their choicest gems to make up this collection, and certainly Mr. Munger is entitled to great credit for the tasteful manner in which they are displayed.
We shall enter more fully into a description of the Art department before the close of the (State) Fair, and endeavor in a brief was to describe some of its leading attractions." [Star Tribune (Minneapolis), p.4]
1871 — Munger may have spent some time in Duluth in 1871, for there is a panoramic view of the harbor and a ship canal of that date.
1872 Jan 10 — "Gilbert Munger is painting a large picture, View of Mount Hood, Oregon. The view is taken from an elevation about twenty miles distant from the mountain, and shows in the foreground and middle distance an interval of ravine and forest scenery of great interest and picturesque beauty. The mountain rises in the background, its crown covered with snow. The sketch for the picture was taken in mid-summer, and illustrates the mountain under the effect of what is termed the 'summer snow.' Mount Hood is one of the most symmetrical mountains on the North American continent, and Mr. Munger's delineation of it is given from a standpoint, which shows many of its most remarkable and interesting features, not the least of which is the glacial formation, the existence of which is an acknowledged fact in connection with this celebrated peak." [MM - New York Evening Post, p.1 c.3]
1872 Apr 18 — "Following passengers passed Carlin, Nevada, on April 18, 1872 aboard the west-bound Overland Train: … Mr. Emmons (Boston, Mass.) …" [Rasmussen, v.II p.53]
1872 Mar 23 — A newspaper article describes a Munger painting in an unnamed Buffalo NY gallery. The next item suggests it was at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.
Among the Pictures
In the middle alcove, and appropriately beside Hart's grand painting of the "Adirondacks in Winter;" is Gilbert Munger's exquisite "Glimpse of the Pacific" (112), a picture that grows upon the lover of nature with each repeated visit to the gallery. Nothing is crowded. A foreground of sage bushes, in which the opal and emerald colors are varied and blended with an infinite number of warmer tints, leads off to the walls of sand, beyond which is a wide stretch of sand beach where the glorious and peaceful Pacific beats in quiet cadence upon it, its calm and placid breast reflecting the almost cloudless sky above. The picture is thoroughly realistic; the varied tints of nature being translated with all the truth possible in the limited resources of art, no less in the foreground than in the distant horizon. In the sky painting, extending as it does here, without a break, across the entire canvas, one of the greatest difficulties with which the artist has to contend is successfully overcome, suggesting, to the observer the effect a of an immeasurable distance beyond; as the real scene does.
[Buffalo (NY) Courier & Republic, p.2 c.3]
1872 — Munger painting for sale at Buffalo Fine Arts Academy: A Glimpse of the Pacific. [Yarnell]
1872 May 2 — "On May 2, 1872 Thomas Moran's Grand Cañon of the Yellowstone drew a curious throng to Leavitt's auction rooms in Clinton Hall on Astor Place in New York City. … The press - the literati - the artists [including Gilbert Munger, former guest painter with Clarence King's Fortieth Parallel Exploration] - and the rich [were] all out in force.'" [Wilkens-2, p.3: quoting Richard Wilson Gilder, associate editor of Scribner's]
1872 May 6 —
"Art at the Century.
The regular monthly meeting of the Century Club, which took place on Saturday evening, brought together a large number of members. Indeed, it was one of the most spirited and enjoyable reunions of this club which has been held during the present season It was marked by the presence of members who for many months have been absent, and whose return to assist at the deliberations of the Club met with a warm and affectionate greeting. The picture gallery, as usual, contained an interesting display of art works collected and arranged under the supervision of the art committee, and at the conclusion of the business meeting of the association was the point of attraction for the remainder of the evening. The paintings exhibited, with the exception of one or two old masters of minor importance, were all new works and for the first time submitted to criticism — the friendly criticism of the club. …
(Artists submitting pictures included) … John Lafarge, a large canvas giving the portraits of a boy and dog, fine in color and broad and masterly in its treatment. … In landscapes, Worthington Whittredge sent a large picture entitled Home by the Sea. … J. F. Kensett was represented by two quiet and delicately-treated cabinet landscapes; Sanford R. Gifford, by a poetical reminiscence of his visit to the Orient, An Afternoon on the Nile; … Louis Tiffany by a finely drawn and painted stable-yard scene, with horses and grooms; … .
Of the members of the club present literature was represented by …, John Hay, … ; and art by Messrs. …, Sandford R Gifford, …, Cropsey,…, Kensett, …, Lafarge, Gilbert Munger, … ." [New York Evening Post, p 4]
1872 May 23 — Munger is cited as an authority on the color of the Rocky Mountains in a review of Thomas Moran's Great Cañon of the Yellowstone. [AH - The Independent (New York), p.2 c.5]
1872 May 25 — "… Classified with Mr. Key's pictures, the last on the catalogue (No. 14) is a very fine view of the Pacific Ocean by Gilbert Munger, the New York artist who usually is Mr. Key's boon companion in his sketching tours. This is a view from a point just below San Francisco, the first obtained by the traveler westward-bound, and is an exceedingly creditable work. Its sky and distance are fine and full of poetic feeling and sentiment; while its foreground of sage brush, shells, and stones is handled with a free touch and artistic feeling." [MM - report on a John Ross Key exhibition at Williams & Everett's, in The Boston Daily Evening Transcript, p.2 c.8]
Period 5: Second trip west, under own sponsorship - San Francisco
1872 Jun 8 — "Gilbert Munger has closed his studio for the season, and will spend the summer in California and in the region bordering Puget's Sound." [MM - New York Evening Post, p.1 c.2]
1872 Jun 17 — "Following passengers passed Carlin, Nevada, on June 17, 1872 aboard the west-bound Overland Train: … G. Munger (New York)" [Rasmussen, v.II p.92]
1872 Jun 18 — Munger painting shown at 1st San Francisco Art Association Exhibition: Falls of Minnehaha owned by McDonald. [Yarnell]
1872 Jun 22 — "ART ITEMS - … Gilbert Munger, of New York, has closed his studio for the season, and will spend this summer in California and in the region bordering Puget Sound. …" [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.1 c.4]
1872 Jul 12 — "Following passengers passed Carlin, Nevada, on Jul 12, 1872 aboard the west-bound Overland Train: … Clarence King … " [Rasmussen, v.II p.107]
1872 Aug 10 — "Gilbert Munger, who was lately in San Francisco, on his way to Puget Sound and the Falls of the Shoshone, had some admirable studies of scenery at Lake Tahoe, and on the Plains. The lake views were remarkable for the pellucid water and tender atmosphere - some of them for literal rendering of rocky summits. Two views on Green river were still more remarkable as studies of the battlemented formations of shale rock which wall the river on one side, showing their stratification and color markings with weird effect, and lifting their abrupt masses above the plain like the Sphinx rises above the sands of the Nile. These studies are so faithful that a geologist can read in them a history of the country - can discern the shore lines of an ancient lake, marking the slopes and branches of the sedimentary rock. But with this literalness there is the poetic effect of sunset light striking the tops of the rocks, while the plain, desolate but for the ribbon of green that margins the river, is falling into twilight." [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.1 c.3]
1872 Aug 24 — "Munger has gone to Puget Sound." [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.1 c.3]
1872 Oct 16 — "Gilbert Munger has returned from Puget Sound, where he made some fine studies of scenery. He will depart for the northern interior again in a few days, and visit the celebrated Shoshone falls in the Snake River country, which no painter has yet depicted from original studies." [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1872 Oct 17 —
"Shipping Intelligence. SAN FRANCISCO
Oct 16 - Stmr John L Stevens, Connor, 75 hours from Portland; pass and mdse, to Oregon SS Co.
PORTLAND-Arrived Oct 15th, stmr Oriflamme, Bolles, hence 12th.
PORTLAND— Per J. L. Stephens— … Gilbert Munger, … , and 90 in steerage." [San Francisco Daily Alta, p.4]
1872 Nov 9 —
"Art Notes - Albert Bierstadt, since his
return from the Kern River country, has made two trips to the Sierra in the
vicinity of Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe, making studies for important works
commissioned by Californians … He will have a studio in this city during
the winter." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
NOTE  This item helps to authenticate the letter in 1872 Nov 15 below.
1872 Nov 12 —
Gilbert Munger, the artist, has just returned from the Shoshone country, where he experienced the various sensations allied to dodging the brawny braves and the penciling of sketches, and is now going the Grand." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1872 Nov 15 —
"A ST. PAUL ARTIST HIGH UP IN THE WORLD SKETCHING
The following letter from Mr. Munger who left here some six months ago for the Pacific Coast, was received yesterday by R. C. Munger. It will be read with pleasure by all who know the writer:"
Summit Sierra Nevadas
November 7, 1872
I returned from Shoshone a few days ago, and owing to the lateness of the season suffered intensely with a cold. I was compelled to camp out alone, cook for myself, and pack my firewood a distance of half a mile on my back. The sides of the canyon in the morning are covered with a sheet of ice, making it dangerous to descend to a stream for water. I remained eight days making studies, and the subject will repay me for all the suffering and hardship endured.
I am now sketching this place with Bierstadt. We work from sunrise to sunset, muffled up to our eyebrows in furs, for the weather is intensely cold, and we are camping in the snow sketching snow storms and snow effects.
I expect to start for the Sandwich Islands in a few days to spend a few weeks. You need not look for me home this winter, for I intend to spend most of the entire winter working out of doors and on the Pacific coast. I am now familiar with the scenery, and know where all the best things are. I shall probably work a great deal with Bierstadt, who will remain out a year, and wishes me to accompany him on his sketching tours.
Shoshone is one of the grandest scenes I have ever witnessed, and I have great hopes of the subject making a grand picture.
Clarence King will remain with me, and we propose to take rooms together in San Francisco for the winter, or at least for the time that I shall remain in the city.
Ever yours, Gilbert
[IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
1872 Nov 15 — "… Albert Bierstadt now in Sierras summit, making studies for the completion of an important work. …" [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1872 Nov 23 — "Gilbert Munger has returned from his trip to Shoshone Falls, in Idaho, and is hard at work upon a most important painting of that remarkable cataract. Mr. Munger's field studies are very elaborate and faithful, and his finished paintings entitle him to a high rank among American landscape artists. He combines enthusiasm with good judgment and painstaking industry in a rare degree." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.1 c.4]
1872 Nov 27 — "At Philip & Solomons may be seen a truthful and beautiful picture of Lake Tahoe, by Gilbert Munger, former resident of Washington. The pellucid water, tender air, and rich atmospheric effects of that enchanted locality are rendered with admirable fidelity, and the poetic sentiment of the place is thoroughly preserved without, in any way, sacrificing its portrait. It must gratify Mr. Munger's old friends here to know that he is rapidly and surely taking his place in the front rank of American artists." [MM - Washington Evening Star, p.1 c.5]
1872 Dec 5 — Munger paintings shown at the 3rd San Francisco Art Association Exhibition: Mission San Buenaventura owned by Mrs. E. Eastman; Lake Tahoe owned by Wm. Alvord; Sunset Lake Tahoe owned by H. S. Babcock. [Yarnell]
1872 Dec 6 — "San Francisco Art Association Sixth Quarterly Reception - Gilbert Munger is represented by a very tender study - Sunset on Lake Tahoe - which gives the tranquil evening aspect of the largest lake of the Sierras, with ruddy glowing mountains tipped with snow, and above a few streakings of crimson cloud, through which softly shines the crescent of the moon. A smaller work by Mr. Munger is a faithful sketch of the old Mission of San Buenaventura." [MM - [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.4 c.1&2]
1872 Dec 12 — "3rd Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association - … #3 Sunset, Lake Tahoe by Munger would be though too flush in color by those who had not seen the glorious flush as the sun sank behind the Sierra. …" San Francisco Letter 22, n.47 p.16]
1872 Dec 16 — "The Pictures in the Rooms of the Art Association - … No. 3 -Sunset on Lake Tahoe - by Munger, is a weak, starchy production, with nothing to modify its defects. It is from the brush of a young man who has attained a fair position in art, and as such is more to be censured. This picture, like a dozen others, should never have been given a place on the wall of the Association. They may do very well for a private room, but one below that standard of merit which should govern the works of a public exhibition." [AH - San Francisco Evening Post, p.3 c.6]
1872 Dec 18 — "Gilbert Munger is engaged on a boldly conceived and finely worked view of the Shoshone Falls." [MM - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1872 Dec 25 — "Gilbert Munger writes, November 7th, that he is with Albert Bierstadt in the Sierra Nevada, and says: 'We work from sunrise to sunset, muffled to our elbows in furs for the weather is so intensely cold, and we are camped in the snow, sketching snow storms and snow effects.' " [Boston Investigator]
1872/3 — The Munger Brothers Music store in St. Paul burns, destroying a number of Munger's western scenes. [Sweeney, p.50] "The Munger Brothers Musical Instruments business is listed in St. Paul city directories at 192 3rd Street through 1871. There is no directory for 1872. In the 1873 and subsequent directories no music business is listed, either by business name or last name. But R. C. Munger is listed with the occupation of real estate (and manager of the St. Paul Opera House in 1873). Thus 1872 or 1873 seems a good guess for the date of the fire." [Thanks to Alison Purgeil at the Minnesota Historical Society for this information.]
1872/3 — Munger painting shown at the Yale School of Fine Arts, Haven: Rocky Mts. [Yarnell]
1873 Jan 3 —
"ART MATTERS - What San Francisco Has Done - An Example for
Older Cities - The San Francisco Art Association - … -
Special Correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco, Dec. 20, 1872.
The esthetic culture of the city is illustrated in a striking manner by the success of the local Art Association … The present exhibition, now ten days in progress, comprises over three hundred works of art … Among the American artists represented are the following: … Gilbert Munger, …" [MM - Chicago Tribune, p.2 c.5]
1873 Jan 8 — "Munger's Falls of the Shoshone - a remarkably honest and closely studied picture of a great natural wonder - is now receiving finishing touches at his hands and will shortly be exhibited at the Art Rooms of Marple & Gamp." [AH - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.6]
1873 Jan 8 — "Art Matters - … Several landscapes by Kensett, William Hart, and Casilear, lately received from the East are on exhibition at Snow & Roos' Gallery and a couple of companion views painted by Key and Munger jointly, one of Santa Clara Valley and the other of Lake Tahoe. …" [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1873 Jan 17 — "Shoshone Falls. - We visited the studio of Mr. Gilbert Munger yesterday, and found him hard at work on his picture of the "Great Shoshone Falls," on Snake River, Idaho Territory. The picture is 5x8 and represents the wondrous cascade in the mellow sunset of a November afternoon. There is a dreamy haze of purple Autumn pervading the picture, and the tawny cliffs along the crystal flood give token that the year is in its sheaf. Mr. Munger is one of those painters who study harmony rather than contrast and aims to produce the greatest amount of light with the least amount of coloring. The snowy peaks of the Coeur d'Alene mountains loom up in the background through the gorgeous Autumn sunset. The picture will be placed on exhibition at the Art Gallery in about a fortnight, where our readers will be enabled to see and judge it on its own merits." [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1; see also item for 1873 Jan 25]
1873 Jan 18 — "A VISIT TO THE ART GALLERY - Bierstadt's Donner Lake and some other pictures - … Sunset on Lake Tahoe, by Gilbert Munger, is very beautiful. The artist is now at work on a large painting called Shoshone Falls, which is to be his best effort. It will be on exhibition. …" [AH - San Francisco Evening Post, p.2 c.3]
1873 Jan 25 — The Alta California article of 17 Jan 1873 (see above) is reproduced with the following comment appended: "That picture may be all right, except the Coeur d'Alene mountains do not loom up in the background at least from our standpoint." [Owyhee Avalanche, Silver City ID, p.1 c.5; courtesy of the Idaho State Historical Society, Boise]
1873 Jan 25 — "ART NOTES. … Gilbert Munger's Falls of the Shoshone - a remarkably honest and closely studied picture of a great natural wonder - is now receiving the finishing touches at his hands and will shortly be exhibited at the Art Rooms of Marple & Gamp. …" [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.6; courtesy of Nancy Anderson]
1873 Jan 30 — "… I miss you very much. JD (?) is domestic and (??) and hence not to be seen a great deal. Janin has gone to Pene(?) and Palmer affords me but little society. Munger paints away handily on his Shastina which now draws near completion. Directly after that is done he will go at your two. …" [Letter from King in San Francisco to Emmons, text provided by James G. Moore, USGS; source unknown]
1873 Feb 17 — "Mr. Munger is still working conscientiously on his Falls of the Shoshone, loth to let it go." [MM - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.6]
1873 Feb —
"ART NOTES - …
For an Afternoon. - The following memoranda are offered as suggestion and guide for an afternoon with the artists located in San Francisco: Hill's studio … Tucker's studio … Munger's studio, room 123 Grand Hotel; Bloomer's studio … Denny's studio … Nahl's studio … Brooks' studio … Keith's studio … Deakin's studio … Hahn's studio … Bierstadt …
Gilbert Munger's studio, in the Grand Hotel, is a plainly furnished working area. Two tables, covered with paints, and a sofa constitute the principal furniture. Among his sketches that are faced against the wall, or rolled up, or in covers, are several fine views of Mt. Raignier (sp), on Puget Sound. The Shoshone Falls, on which he is working, are on the road from Salt Lake to Boise, and, as one may learn by Munger's picture, are interesting geologically, as an erosion into a vast plain of modern, underlaid by ancient rocks. Mr. Munger will go with Bierstadt to the Southern Sierras as soon as the season permits.
… " [AH - The Illustrated Press (San Francisco) 1, n. 2]
1873 Feb —
"LOCAL ART NOTES - …
Gilbert Munger has on his easel a very remarkable and interesting picture of the Shoshone Falls, on the Snake river in Idaho. The picture is mainly composed of rock and water, there being scarcely a tree or shrub, or any trace of vegetation in the entire landscape. This feature, with the sober brown of the rocks stretching far into the distance, contributes much to the feeling of grandeur and desolation that pervades the picture. The sky occupies a comparatively narrow space at the top of the canvas, from the necessity of giving due emphasis to the height of the cataract; yet is it very effective, and the subtle insight of a true artist is revealed in the manner in which it is made to harmonize with the peculiar character of the landscape, and to give value to the emerald and white of the falling waters, lit up by the late afternoon sun. It is generally considered a very difficult thing in art to give the effect of falling water. Mr. Munger has triumphed over this difficulty. The tumbling, tumultuous mass precipitating itself over an immense cliff, and emitting marvelous prismatic hues, has a remarkably natural look, and is finely painted, both in detail and for general effect. At the foot of the fall, it comes grandly out from amidst its obscuring haze of spray and vapor, settling in to the rich bluish-green shade so seldom seem in water, except just below a cataract. As we have said this picture has much character, and at first glance the landscape as a whole would strike the majority of observers as unnatural and purely fanciful. Yet upon close examination the improbable looking rocks, with their strange sombre monotony of color, show distinct indications of being close geological studies. It is the intention of Mr. Munger to afford the public an opportunity of seeing this very remarkable work, by placing it for a short time in the gallery of the Art Association.
…" [AH - The California Art Gallery Vol. 1, No. 2 p.19 c.2]
1873 Mar 22 — "Monterey Scenery.-- Gilbert Munger, artist, has retuned from a trip to Monterey with some very bold and honest sketches of the fine scenery in that part of the State, including views of the old Mission Carmel, founded by Junipero Serra over a hundred years ago, of Monterey town and bay, of Cyprus Point etc. Several of the studies of the cypress indigenous at this locality are worthy of (Ca'sme?). As they stand by the sea, stretching their weird witch arms across the stormy sky, in the attitude of years of sturdy wrestling; these trees are full of unique character, and help to interpret all the stress and unquiet of the rainy ocean beyond. In such sketches as these one sees genuine art, honoring the man who makes nature his teacher and his love." [San Francisco Bulletin, p.3]
1873 Mar — "ART PATRONAGE IN CALIFORNIA - … Munger has been with us for some time - a painter of decided ability, who has a sweet expressive picture of Lake Tahoe at sunset, in 'Art Association Gallery.' That and a landscape of the Wasatch Range have proved him a person of excellent promise. …" [AH - The California Art Gallery, Vol 1, No.3 p.33]
1873 Mar — Munger painting for sale at Boston Art Club: Lake Lal. [Yarnell]
1873 Apr 7 — "COLOR AND CANVAS - A Stroll in the Art Studios - Pictures and Their Merits - What the Artist Are Doing.
Munger, the artist, has been engaged for some time on a large painting of a scene on the Snake river, already celebrated as One? Shoshone Falls, in Idaho, about midway, on the stage route, between Salt Lake City and Boise City. At this point the river has worn its way through a great lava bed, which ends with a rocky ridge, over which the water runs to a depth of 220 feet, which is forty feet greater than that of Niagara Falls. The country around is barren in the extreme, there being no vegetation whatever except a few stunted trees on the banks at the base of the falls. Boldly outlined in the distance from this point is a high range of mountains which are rugged and bare. The river comes from this direction and flows with but little circuitousness to the site of the falls, where a kind of upper basin is formed, adding to the volume of the water and intensifying the force of the overflow. To the right and left the land is level, and has a dark slatey surface, which variegates the sun's reflection and gives a sort of wild beauty to the prospect. Mr. Munger has caught the spirit of the scene as only a true artist can, and has painted a picture which, even if here were never to use
PALLET AND BRUSH
again, would give him a lasting reputation. He has succeeded in giving to the water that beautiful tint of emerald green which is so characteristic of snow water. His touches are bold, and yet delicate; so that all the details of the scenery are made to blend with unusually fine effect. In the background the dark mountains are shown in rigorous contrast with the rest of the painting, while immediately in front the spray and foam of the falls are introduced with masterly art. Where there are touches of verdure the coloring is very fine, and, of course, the beauty of the effect is increased by the nakedness of the other features of the scene; which, however, although barren, possesses many points of grandeur. These, which embrace broken banks, bleak landscapes, sleeping water and foaming cataracts, Mr. Munger has depicted with
THE CUNNING OF GENIUS
so that the varied characteristics of the scene present all the truth and
boldness of nature. The chief objection (if objection it be) to his
treatment of the subject is, that in order to do justice to the surrounding
country and show its geological features, he has taken a position to sketch
the falls which makes them appear much smaller than they really are. But
considering that if he had sketched them from a lower base, which would have
fully represented their magnitude, the lava, course of the river, and all
the interesting features of the country he has shown, would have been
excluded, the value of the painting is greatly enhanced by the way in which
he has treated the subject. This splendid picture, which is four feet nine
inches by seven feet in size, and is already in a magnificent frame, will be
ready for the next exhibition of the Art Association, when the public will
have the opportunity of seeing one of the finest art creations that has ever
been produced on the Pacific Coast.
…" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.3 c.4]
1873 Apr 14 — "ABOUT THE STUDIOS - What Our Artists Are Doing - … Munger has made a number of interesting studies in Monterey country. The romantic old churches of the Mission have found a place in his sketchbook. …" [AH - San Francisco Evening Post, p.1 c.1]
1873 Apr — "LOCAL ARTS NOTES - … Munger has returned from his southern trip and brings with him a number of excellent sketches of coast scenery, in many of which the weird, storm-beaten Monterey cypress appears. Besides these, he has made careful studies of the old mission churches as foundations for pictures which can hardly be other than popular. He has just gone over his Shoshone Falls with a careful hand, materially improving this excellent painting. [AH - The California Art Gallery, Vol 1, No.4 p.54]
1873 Apr — "MOVEMENTS OF ARTISTS - … Munger will devote himself to sketching in the vicinity of the Bay, and will also elaborate some of his southern coast sketches." [AH - The California Art Gallery, Vol 1, No.4 p.54]
1873 May 15 — Munger painting shown at 4th San Francisco Art Association Exhibition: Shoshone owned by Gilbert Munger. [Yarnell]
1873 May 16 — "Art Reception - … The Crown of the Sierras, by Mr. Keith, is a fine large picture, and should have been placed in the middle of the hall on the eastern wall, instead of a larger but weaker picture of the Shoshone Fall, by Gilbert Munger, whose work, though not without merit, does not deserve the best place. Munger uses bright colors, but is defective in the relief of his fore and middle ground. …" [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1873 May 16 — "THE ART ASSOCIATION - The Eight Reception - A Large and Brilliant Attendance - A Fine Display of Beautiful Pictures - … Munger has a large painting of Shoshone Falls, on the Snake river, which evinces much care in the correctness of detail. …" [AH - San Francisco Evening Post, p.1 c.1]
1873 May 16 — "Gilbert Munger has a large painting - Shoshone Falls - in which the perspective is very fine, and the effect of the foam and spray managed in a masterly manner." [MM - article on the Eight Reception of the San Francisco Art Association in the San Francisco Daily Morning Call, p.3 c.3]
1873 May 16 — "Mr. Munger's Shoshone, (No. 25), represents the celebrated falls on a branch of the Snake river, which are even higher than Niagara. The location of the these falls is about twenty miles from the overland road between Salt Lake and Portland, Oregon, one hundred miles from the Central Pacific Railroad, in a region wild and unsettled. … The surface of the plain is brownish-yellow in the afternoon sun of the autumn, the rocky cliffs are reddish brown as though stained with iron; and out of this mass of monotonous browns, breaks suddenly the opalescent glory of the falls, right in the face of the spectator, full of lively, dancing motion, of blended blues, grays and greens, of pearly flashes and snowy foam, tumbling into a pool of still green water far below, whence rises clouds of thin mist, through which we see the distant brown landscape. The scene presents many difficulties for an artist, but Mr. Munger has produced a picture of singular interest and much beauty, remarkable for its topographical truth and for the very conscientious labor apparent in the painting. It is certain to attract a great deal of attention." [MM - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.3 c.4]
1873 May 16 —
"THE ART ASSOCIATION - The Reception Last Evening - A Large
and Brilliant Audience - A Glance at Some of the Most Striking Paintings.
The fourth exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association opened with a grand reception at the rooms on Pine street. …
GLANCE AT SOME OF THE PAINTINGS
… Shoshone, by Munger, was excellent, though it does not show by gaslight to as much advantage as in day time. …" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.2 c.2]
1873 May 17 — "SOIREE OF THE ART ASSOCIATION - … Gilbert Munger contributes a most important work in Shoshone Falls, the coloring of which surprises some, although we believe that the warm, burnt up vegetation, rocks and distant plains, are faithful to nature. The water is certainly admirable, and but for a little want of force in the foreground, we should place this in the foremost rank. Anyway, it is a remarkable picture of a scene never before transferred to canvas; the handling masterly and the composition grand. …" [AH - San Francisco Daily Letter, p.4 c.2]
1873 May 21 —
"AMONG THE PICTURES - Spring Exhibition of the Art
Association - …
Falls of the Shoshone - Mr. Munger's painting is the largest in the Gallery, except Hill's Royal Arches, measuring nearly five by seven feet, and has caused him months of hard work, directed to the production of a conscientiously faithful transcript of a wonder of western scenery which no painter before him has visited or depicted. (Appears here a long topographic description of Shoshone Falls and of the depiction in the painting …) The Falls are received into a quiet basin, on whose surface floats a row boat containing a party of Indians engaged in fishing for salmon. … Opinions differ as to the strictly artistic merits of this picture, but there is no question as to its conscientious fidelity to the actual scene, nor as to the painstaking care with which it was executed. Had Mr. Munger tried to make a more pleasing picture conventionally, it would hardly have been so true, and absolute truth seems to have been his grand aim. The topography and geology of the region are plain enough to be described as from nature, and the falling motion of the water is admirably rendered. The picture is a very interesting study of a remarkable scene in one of the least known regions of the far West. …" [MM - San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, p.1 c.1]
1873 May 26 — "The Shoshone Falls. Munger's picture of the Shoshone Falls, on exhibition at the Art Association's rooms, is so simply faithful, so natural, and unlike a picture, that a majority of the visitors walk past it with a casual glance, not even pausing before it; and yet, it is one of the best paintings in the gallery. As a piece of artistic labor, it is superb; as a study for topographers and cosmologists, it is a curiosity, and an authentic one - for Munger is a most literal painter. Like Hill, Munger finds all the poetry a picture can express, in the closest, most faithful delineation of Nature's simple face. The great leap of these seething white waters into the great depth, is so beautifully painted, that it seems like a reflection of actuality, through the instantaneous camera of photography. The artist has given such a sense of an immensity of rushing waters, that it seems strange that it should be so silent. The perspective of the strange land formation, like Martello towers, reaching far away in long, defensive line, beside the river banks; the narrow space of sky, a sacrifice artistically managed, to give the falls their just, effective height; the lovely Aldeberan green tint of the water, far enough below the "falls" to have recovered from the snow white pallor of its frightful leap, are efforts of no ordinary painter." [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1873 May 29 — "Art Matters - The Art Association provided another treat for its members and the public yesterday by obtaining a picture of exhibition size of Bierstadt - Autumn in the Sierra - and the best of all from his brush seen in our city. … Munger's picture of the Shoshone Falls has been moved to the end of the hall (a better place for it) to make room for Bierstadt's big picture. …" [AH - Alta California, p.1 c.1]
1873 Jun 8 — Clarence King, accompanied by the 40th Parallel Survey geologist Samuel Franklin Emmons, visits the notorious Emma mine in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, to evaluate the potential for the manager. [, p.190] Munger most likely accompanies them, since six months later he shows "studies drawn in the neighborhood of the famous Emma mine." [See entry for 1873 Dec 11]
1873 Jun 27 —
"Munger's sketches, in the Wasatch Mountains, Little
Cottonwood, and various parts of Utah; in California (Monterey, San Mateo
counties and elsewhere) have been shown to us, and we fully appreciate the
favor. There is a genuine pleasure in going through such a folio as
Munger gathers in his indefatigable labors, for he is no fair-weather
painter, no studio student. There are few if any other artists among our
celebrities, who would go through Munger's experience in getting up
his studies of the Shoshone Falls. He was alone for two weeks; his guide
refusing, for love or money, to remain after guiding him within twenty-five
miles of the Falls, and directing him upon the right trail; and, for a
fortnight, the artist was alone, making his sketches and studies of this
great wonder of nature with the thermometer below zero all the time; … We
have already noticed at length, the great study of the Shoshone Falls,
and now wish we could do justice to the powerful sketches made since then.
The stern, old cypress groves, planted near Monterey, by the old padres of
San Carmel, more than a hundred years ago; … Among these sketches is one
of the old Mission Church at San Carmel, crumbling and weather-beaten, … ,
and bright, blue sea, with snowy foam tossing against the brown, warm rocks,
and Point Pinos in the distance, … 'That looks like a sketch on the shore
of the blue Mediterranean,' we said to the artist. He turned quickly saying,
'Exactly my own thoughts while I was taking it; and the whole coast of
California seems unlike any other portion of America.'
Some views near Salt Lake are very grand and picturesque: Sketches at earliest sunrise, or just as the sun, sinking in the west, throws its opal light upon the extreme mountain-tops, their glowing summits in strange contrast with the gray gloom, all the way down from the flush line along the gleaming pinnacles to where the broad foundation mingles with common earth, dark and indefinable.
Some tree studies, in San Mateo county - one in particular: a sturdy, old live-oak; its brawny, far-reaching branches impressing one with such a sense of indestructible strength.
Coyote Point, on the shore-line of the Howard Ranch in San Mateo county: clumps of trees and bits of meadow and brook scenery, all so freely handled; every touch so effective and full of meaning; no waste of time, no useless dawdling or groping for chance effects, but literal, honest delineation of the landscape, its geology, its topography, its botany, dendrology, clouds and atmosphere, truly and faithfully as an artist every should in painting from nature. Composition and flights of fancy are all very well in their place, fiction is very pleasing to read, but don't falsify it by saying it is history.
Dwellers in distant lands may rest assured that when Munger places before their eyes pictures of far-off scenes on which their gaze has never rested, the delineation will be scrupulously true that cosmograph may read the character of the land like a page from an honest book." [Alta California, p.1 c.4]
1873 Jul 3 — "THE PICTURE SALE - The prices offered at the auction sale of pictures at the Art Gallery, last evening, were so low that most of the pictures were withdrawn. J. C. Duncan acted as auctioneer. The following are the principal sales: … A Landscape, by Munger, brought $80 from George C. Hickox. …" [AH - San Francisco Bulletin, p.3 c.3]
1873 Jul 5 — "LOCAL PERSONNEL. … Clarence King, the geologist, and Gilbert Munger, who paints good pictures of California Missions, are at the Grand. …" [AH - San Francisco Call p.1 c.9]
1873 Jul 10 — The 27 June 1873 Alta California article is excerpted in a New York paper under the title "A New York Artist in California and Utah." [MM - New York Evening Post, p.2 c.5]
1873 Jul — This etching of the exhibition of the Art Association appears in a San Francisco paper, showing Munger's five foot by eight foot Shoshone Falls painting in the center at the end of the room. (Click on the image to see a larger version.) [AH- San Francisco Illustrated Press, 1, 7]
1873 Jul — "Mr. Munger will soon leave for an extended tour among the lakes of the Sierra, where he will find fitting subjects for his pencil." [AH - The California Art Gallery, p.107 c.3]
1873 summer —
"One of the largest and finest springs has been utilized, forming one of the most picturesque
resorts in California. About two miles below, the river has cut a narrow channel one hundred
and fifty feet deep and one eighth of a mile long through solid granite. This chasm is but a
few rods wide at top, and only a few feet wide at bottom, where there are numerous smooth pot holes,
forming deep pools of wonderfully transparent water of an exquisite aquamarine tint. There is
enough descent to make the current empty from one pool to another in little cascades, over sharp pitcher
lips of polished rock. Lovers of angling are provoked to find no fish in these charming basins.
A few stunted but picturesque cedars are stuck like cockades in the clefts above, and the
summits of the chasm walls are rounded and smoothed by ancient glacial action. To this place was
given the name of Munger's Gorge, by a gay picnic party last summer,
in honor of the fine artist
who sat with them on its brink, and was first to paint it. A few miles below is a still deeper
and grander gorge, at the foot of Eagle Cliff, where the precipitous granite walls rise a thousand
feet or more, and the stream makes a sheer fall of a hundred feet."
[Article by Benjamin P. Avery in The Overland Monthly 12, 2 (Feb 1874) p.178]
NOTE  Russel Towel of Dutch Flat CA identifies where Avery would have Munger's Gorge with a circle on this Tahoe National Forest map. Avery's Eagle Cliff is today's Snow Mountain, just off the left edge of map, and the deep canyon is now called Royal Gorge. "Confusion arises because today's town of Soda Springs is just the train station where you'd get on a stage to go to the actual springs, six miles away on the North Fork of the American River. This Soda Springs, mentioned by Avery, was called Summit Soda Springs and now Old Soda Springs. There was a hotel, where Munger undoubtedly stayed, and where Mark Hopkins had a cabin."
1873 Oct 19 — The hotel register for Snow's Casa Nevada in Yosemite Valley shows "Gilbert Munger." [KO - The register is in the Yosemite Museum.]
1873 Nov 8 — "Gilbert Munger has returned from his sketching tour with a capital collection of sketches. He has worked along all the way from the summit of the Sierras to Lake Tahoe; and his portfolio is consequently rich in good things." [AH - San Francisco Evening Post, p.2 c.3]
1873 Nov 15 — "ART GOSSIP - Peeps at the Picture Galleries - About Our Artists - Gilbert Munger has left for New York. Munger is a man of genuine talent, and a most conscientious artist. …" [AH - San Francisco Evening Post, p.2 c.3]
1873 Nov 15 —
"Our art community has sustained a decided loss by the
departure of Mr. Gilbert Munger for New York, where he will
reestablish himself for a time. Munger has in the last two seasons traveled
incessantly, part of the time in company with Clarence King, the geologist,
and has visited not merely all the leading points of interest to an artist
in California, but has extended his trips through inaccessible portions of
Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, etc., securing an immense number of valuable
sketches. This artist's style is eminently finished and complete; hence we
were not surprised to learn that he has received commissions enough during
his travels and stay in this city to occupy his time for the next year or
more, working hard at that. Among his patrons is Lord Skelmersdale M. P.
(the purchaser of the $40,000 Eastern bull), who, meeting him in Yosemite
valley, was greatly struck by his characteristic sketches; it is a further
proof of this artist's fidelity to nature, that Prof. Whitney and several
other scientific men have given him commissions. Poor Munger ! we
would rather paint for the most exacting connoisseurs than for scientists.
But let that pass; we can bear ample testimony to this artist's genius and
talent, as well as to his untiring energy and conscientiousness. His two
years' studies have been made for the most part on a large scale, and in
number are sufficient to cover the entire walls of the Art Association
galleries, and they should have been secured for at least one evening by
that society. The artist under review has been little represented here, his
remarkable Shoshone Falls being the only large work exhibited by him
this year. His success in obtaining commissions in the field from
travellers and tourists, will, we expect, stimulate some of our younger men
to sketch more carefully and spend more time among the beauties of
nature. Munger's sketches have nothing meretricious about them; he
aims at b neutral effects very frequently, it is true, and some think
his work a little too scenic, but if so, it is scenic painting of the best
and highest order. For the rest his numerous separate studies of foliage,
rocks geologically true, snow under all effects skies and clouds
innumerable, convince us that this artist is working in the right spirit,
and is sure of attaining a foremost place in his profession."
[AH - California Advertiser, p.5 c.2]
NOTE  Lord Skelmersdale is Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, the 2nd Baron Skelmersdale and 1st Earl of Lathom (Lancaster), born 12 Dec 1837 died 23 Nov 1897. His interest in the west later extended to owing a share of the Oxley Ranche that was established in 1882 near Ft. MacLeod in southwest Alberta.
Period 6: East coast artist & third California trip - New York and St. Paul
1873 Nov 19 — "Gilbert Munger, Esq., the artist, who has been spending a year or more among the Sierras Mountains and on the Pacific coast, sketching views which are long (illegible) will appear on canvas, arrived in the city last evening." [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
1873 Nov 24 — Hart Jackson, New York; C. F. Chappell, St. Louis; Gilbert Munger, New York; George E. Sickels, New York; R. S. Veech, Louisville, Ky.; J. S. Morgan, Dubuque, are arrivals at the Grand Pacific (hotel). [The Inter Ocean (Chicago), p.4]
1873 Dec 10 — Munger painting shown at the 5th San Francisco Art Association Exhibition: Bay of Monterey owned by Mrs. J. D. Hague. [Yarnell]
1873 Dec 11 — "Gilbert Munger, who has been sketching on the western plains and in California and Oregon during the past eight months, returned to his studio last week with a portfolio of sketches which exceed in interest and variety any which we have hitherto seen relating to those far western regions. Mr. Munger accompanied the geologist Mr. Clarence King, during his rambles, and visited many wild sections which were never before studied by an artist. Among his sketches, which illustrate all phases of scenery and effects from nature, are numerous views drawn from the Wahsatch range of mountains near Salt lake City; studies in the Yo Semite Valley, some of which are of remarkable strength and indicate in a realistic manner the stupendous character of the scenery of that wonderful region; views on the mountains in the Sierra Nevada range; studies of the Cypress groves near San Francisco; view of Lake Angela (source of the South Yuba River, located near Donner Pass in the Sierras) with its rugged surroundings; sketch of a cottonwood cañon in the Wahsatch range of mountains; Donner Lake at Twilight; View of Lake Tahoe; study of an old mission house in Lower California; studies drawn in the neighborhood of the famous Emma mine (located in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah); view of a California landscape in spring; sketches of the giant trees of California; and many others of equal interest. Mr. Munger's sketches and studies are finely executed and many of them bear the character of finished pictures. His studio is at No. 1155 Broadway." [MM - York Evening Post, p.1 c.2]
1874 Jan — "Gilbert Munger, who has just returned East with a large number of very able and honest studies - embracing scenes about lakes Tahoe and Donner, Yosemite, San Francisco, and Monterey - is represented by a small view of Monterey Bay, remarkable for its quiet truth and the charm of its long, curving shore-lines, where a light surf margins the beautifully graduated blues of the still water, and the ocean beyond melts in to the gray distance." [Review of the Art Association second winter exhibition, which opened 1873 Dec 10, in Overland Monthly, p.91 c.2]
1874 Jan — "ART NOTES - In our last issue we gave a short notice of some of the more prominent pictures on exhibition in our local art galleries, but it necessarily conveyed but a very imperfect idea of the wealth of art to be found there. … The Bay of Monterey, by Munger, is a fine sketch, but the deep blue of the water is unnatural, contrasted as it is with the gray tint of the overhanging clouds. …" [AH - Illustrated Press (San Francisco) 2, no.1, p.10 c.2]
1874 Jan 30 — " … Expecting King back … Doesn't come … Munger and I turn in early." [Emmons]
1874 Jan 31 — " … Go to Water Color Exhibition (at the New York Academy of Design) with King. After to Munger's. …" [Emmons]
1874 Feb 9 — "Morning Munger's studio with Eva & Martha. … theatre with Munger." [Emmons]
1874 Mar 13 — " … King to the opera with Munger." [Emmons]
1874 Apr 13 — " … King & Munger to Bertha's" [Emmons]
1874 Apr 16 — " … King & Munger go to the Bowery." [Emmons]
1874 Apr 25 — " … Storms. Bradley party & Munger." [Emmons]
1874 Apr 27 — " … Lily (Emmons) goes to Central Park with Munger. …" [Emmons]
1874 May 2 — " … Munger brings in Sachetti. …" [Emmons]
1874 May 4 — " … Meet Lily at Munger's and dine with her at Brunswick." [Emmons]
1874 May 9 — Munger and others see Emmons off on a steamer trip to Europe. [Emmons]
1874 Oct 20 — "Gilbert Munger arrived at St. Paul last evening, having been absent from here almost one year. He has been busily engaged during that entire time, except four days, in his studio in New York City, and has completed over fifty pictures, which he had ordered. Fifteen of them were painted for English gentlemen, and were mostly scenes among the Rocky Mountains. It is to be hoped that this talented artist, whom St. Paul claims as her own, will place some of his excellent works on exhibition for the inspection of the public." [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
1874 Oct 25 — "ART - Gilbert Munger, Esq., has established a studio at the Metropolitan Hotel, and will commence immediately on a large picture of the scenery in the Yosemite valley, which is intended for exhibition in this city." [IP - St. Paul Sunday Pioneer, p.4]
1874 Nov 5 —
Invoice from "Julius Bien, Lithographer, New York, to Mr.
Clarence King, In charge of Explorations & Surveys of 40th Parallel: …
Preparing 10 colored sketches for geological book illustrations @ $75 -
NOTE  These must be the drawings for the Munger chromolithographs in Systematic Geology. This invoice suggests that after Munger painted the original oil sketches Bien did all the rest of the preparation. See also 1876 Jun 17 for the printing invoice.
1874 Nov 15 — "ART - Munger's Yosemite. A visit to Gilbert Munger's studio on yesterday, afforded "At Home" an opportunity to view that artist's splendid painting of the Yosemite Valley, which had just been removed from the easel. The subject is one of great interest and beauty. The painting is 3 by 4½ feet, and has been mounted in a beautiful, massive frame. The time chosen is at sunset, the brilliant orb being concealed at the left of the picture by the grand outlines of the 'Three Brothers.' The warm golden rays of the sun glance up the valley and shed a brilliant lustre on the lofty Cathedral spires in the front and the "Three Graces" in the perspective. The effect of the golden mist and the warm tint of the sunset sky is wonderful beyond description. The scene selected is looking out of the valley, and is taken from the foot of the "Dome." The river Merced is seen threading its silver course to its outlet, while the nearer foreground is rich in splendid foliage and wonderful geological formations. The painting will be on exhibition at the store of Metcalf & Dixon in a few days, and it is destined to attract great attention from the lovers of fine arts in St, Paul. This industrious artist will immediately employ himself on several smaller paintings of scenes among the Rockies, over one hundred sketches of which he has in his studio." [IP - St. Paul Sunday Pioneer, p.4]
1874 Nov 29 — "Gilbert Munger is working most industriously in two fine pictures which have been ordered from studies found in his portfolio. It is a pleasure to know that some of his work will be left in St. Paul. His Yosemite is attracting great attention, and there is a possibility that also will remain in this city. Investments in the works of such great and growing geniuses are the best that can be made." [IP - St. Paul Sunday Pioneer, p.4 ]
1874 Dec 5 — "Munger, whose pictures of California scenery are well known in this city, has set up his easel in St. Paul Minnesota for the winter, and is now working on a large canvas, giving a view of Yo Semite Valley, taken from the base of the 'Dome,' and looking towards the 'Three Graces.' " [AH - New York Evening Post, p.1 c.3]
1874 Dec 6 —
In defense of an unnamed critic's claim that Yosemite Valley
lacked poetical thought - "… Who would give two cents for
Munger's picture if he had put a vista, a cascade or evidence of animal
life? It is the Cathedral spires, the Dome and the Graces and Brothers they
admire. A new milch cow would be most impressive at the base of a peak 4,500
feet high …
… None but the true poet would have selected the period of the day that Munger has seized.
The golden rays of the descending sun falling upon the mighty cliffs, transforming their dull gray to a perfect glory of splendid hues. Through the golden mist the mighty peaks rise and fade far into the distance. The sunbeams shimmer on the foliage and dance on the placid stream.
Where is the poet or painter that can rival nature, or improve on her.
The author of the notice should order a picture with the same outline as Munger's Yosemite, having a French villa on the highest peak, Minnehaha Falls in the equal distance, the gentle Merced, with Guy Salisbury fishing for speckled trout, an alligator sunning itself on its banks, gentle peasants performing the Mulligan Guards on their soft-toned lutes to their listening flocks, and Dan Woodmansee speeding Tearaway across the foreground" [IP - St. Paul Daily Pioneer, p.4]
1874 Dec 20 —
"Gilbert Munger has just commenced working up the
study of a painting which he is to make for the Centennial Exhibition. The
picture will be 12x7 feet in size and will be one of the most interesting
ever painted of American scenery. The scenery is Shoshone Falls, which is on
Snake river, one of the main tributaries of the Columbia river in Idaho on
the old stage route between Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon. This
remarkable falls has been discovered within the past five years, and is the
western rival of Niagara, being 40 feet higher, but the volume of water is
not so great; it flows through a deep cañon with rocky walls of basalt
formation rising 700 feet on either side.
The falls commence in a series of cascades, divided by high huge masses of trachite rock, and then makes it final leap of 240 feet. The fall itself is one of the most beautiful in the world. The shadows cast upon the fall by the precipitous walls are the most beautiful cobalt blue, and the base of the fall is completely veiled by the vapory spray which rises and floats upward into the sky until it blends with the blue of heaven. The river as it leaves the falls is of that rare beryl green that is often seen in the high mountain lakes of the Rockies." [IP - St. Paul Sunday Pioneer, p.4]
NOTE  The official art catalog for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition does not list any works by Gilbert Munger. But David Sellin, a expert on the Centennial Exhibition, points out that the work easily could have been part of a display other than the art exhibition, for example the installation of the Department of the Interior. In this case it would not be listed in the art catalog.
1875 Jan 17 — "Mr. Gilbert Munger is busily at work in his studio in New York, painting views in the Yosemite valley to fill orders from English connoisseurs." [IP - St. Paul Sunday Pioneer, p.4]
1875 Feb 14 — "Messrs. Metcalf and Dixon are in receipt of the most charming little picture by Gilbert Munger. It represents a lake in the Rocky mountains and is a gem worthy of the inspection of all art lovers." [IP - St. Paul Sunday Pioneer, p.4]
1875 Apr — Munger's Mount Hood, Oregon, listed as owned by N. H. Emmons Jr., shown at the Boston Art Club Exhibition. [Exhibition catalog]
1875 Jun 26 — "Munger for picture, $309.05" [GS - Emmons, account records at back of diary book]
1875 Jul 9 —
The hotel register for Mariposa Big Tree Station, near Yosemite Valley, shows Gilbert Munger's
signature. This entry confirms the observation of Walter Paris that
Munger was in California in 1875. The register also shows John Muir's signature on this date.
Munger and Muir had also met in 1869, according to the 1869 May - Oct
excerpt above. [KO - The register is in the Yosemite Museum.]
NOTE  See the entry below for 1875
1875 Aug 17 — … through Oct 9. Munger painting shown at the San Francisco Mechanics' Institute: Unfinished Sketch - San Mateo owned by Geo. C. Hickox. [Yarnell]
1875 Oct 24 — The hotel register for Snow's Casa Nevada in Yosemite Valley, shows Gilbert Munger. [KO - The register is in the Yosemite Museum.]
1875 Oct 31 — The hotel register for Mariposa Big Tree Station, near Yosemite Valley, shows Gilbert Munger. [KO - The register is in the Yosemite Museum.]
1875 Nov 6 — "BRIEF MENTION … Gilbert Munger, the well-known artist, is now in the city, having just returned from an extended visit to the Yosemite." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1875 Dec 6 —
"The Prang Collection of Paintings
A large and valuable collection of American and European oil paintings owned by Mr. Louis Prang, of Boston, was opened for exhibition at the Leavitt Art Rooms, No. 817 Broadway, yesterday morning. Many of the subjects have been published under the name of "Prang's Chromos," and are now to be under the direction [at auction] of the Messrs. Leavitt, on the evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday, December 7 and 8, at 8 o'clock.
In examining this collection critically it must be admitted that Mr. Prang exercised good judgment and taste in his selections. The paintings are mostly of cabinet size, and in nearly every instance were executed to order. …
There are other American pictures by … Gilbert Munger …
… There are two hundred and five works in the collection all together." [MM - The New York Evening Post, p.3 c.8]
1875 Dec 9 — "Sale of Mr. Prang's Pictures. Notwithstanding the storm there was a large attendance at the closing sale last evening of Mr. Prang's pictures. The bidding was somewhat faster, and the prices better than at the preceding sale. For the ninety-nine pictures sold there was realized the sum of $8,122.00, making the grand total for the entire collection upwards or $12,000. The highest price obtained for any one picture was $1,100. … Two views of Bridal Veil Fall, Yosemite, Gilbert Munger, $10 and $16; Domes of the Yosemite, Gilbert Munger, $12.50;" [(New York) World, p.8]
"I met him (Munger) for the first time in San
Francisco in 1875, where he had then established in his studio
as an artist … " [In a 1904 Jan 5 letter from Mr. Walter Paris, artist, to
Myra Dowd Monroe. See the entry for that date for the complete comment by Paris.]
NOTE  Cummings thinks this 1875 report is misdated and that Munger did not return west after 1873. But the recently discovered hotel register entries for 9 July, 24 October, and 31 October 1875 confirm Paris' recollection. (See the entries for those dates above.)
1875 — Munger painting shown at Yale School of Fine Arts, New Haven: Rocky Mountains. [Yarnell]
1876 Feb 21 — "sale of oil paintings by auction … of the Stenersen Collection … by the following well know American and foreign artists: Bierstadt, Irving, Gilbert, Munger, Dupre, …" [MM advertisement in The (Washington DC) Evening Star]
1876 Mar 8 —
"THE FINE ARTS. INFORMAL EXHIBITION AT THE ART CLUB.
The informal exhibition of sketches and pictures shown at the regular monthly meeting if the Art club on Saturday evening has proved so interesting that the managers have decided to continue it through Wednesday. Ninety-eight out of-door sketches of California scenery by Gilbert Munger of New York make up the greater part of the display, and form a very interesting series of picturesque illustrations. There are a number of Yosemite valley views, one or two sketches of the great trees, several coast views, and various studies of effect of different degrees of excellence. …" [The Boston Daily Advertiser]
1876 Jun 17 —
Invoice from "Julius Bien, Lithographer, New York, to Geol.
Exploration of the 40th Parallel: 2000 copies of 10 color geol. views — $4200"
NOTE  This seems to be the invoice for printing the 10 Munger chromolithographs in Systematic Geology. It also suggests that the press run of Systematic Geology was 2000 copies.
1876 — Peterson claims that Alvah Bradish was the only artist who worked in St. Paul during 1876. This implies that Munger was NOT in St. Paul that year. [IP, p.89]
1876 — Gilbert Munger is NOT mentioned in the San Francisco newspapers, the New York Evening Post, or the London Art Journal for this year.
1876 — A Gilbert Munger painting, 64. Unfinished Sketch - San Mateo, owned by Geo. C. Hickox, is displayed at the Eleventh Industrial Exhibition in San Francisco.[Exhibition report published by the Mechanics Institute of San Fancisco]
Period 7: Establishment in Europe - London
Munger goes to Europe.
NOTE  The letter of 1877 Dec 25 below shows that he arrived there before August.
1877 August — Munger travels from London to the Scottish Highlands to paint. [See the letter in the next entry.]
1877 Dec 25 — Letter from Munger to Samuel Franklin Emmons:
15 New Cavnedish St.
Portland Place London W.
December 25th, 1877
My dear Emmons
When I left London four months ago for the Highlands I had no definite plans as to a permanent abode, consequently did not write at the time of departure. After doing the Highlands as a "tourist" in order to find out for myself all the nice places for painting, I settled down at Dunkeld with J. E. Millais, the leading English artist and we worked there together for two months. it always rains in Scotland so we built two small houses of wood seven feet square to paint in. A large plate glass window in the side looking towards the view to be painted, and a skylight roof to be in the light on the picture, and in this manner we are able to work in the drenching rain. these houses are easily taken apart and changed from one location to another, or packed away for next season. I have adopted the plan of working in these houses upon large canvases&and finish the picture entire from nature, and have already sold a part of my summer's work, besides receiving more orders for my American scenery, and am very busy upon them at my old quarters in London, having returned about three weeks ago. Millais in now one of my best friends in London and has more influence than any other artist here. He lives in splendid style owns the house in which he lives close to Hyde Park S. Kensington which is almost palatial. he gives swell entertainments to the Dukes&Lords, and make £20,000 per year they say. he has taken a great fancy to me for some reason, I cannot tell why, and altogether I consider it a piece of great luck in meeting this gentleman.
London is pleasant even at this time of year for the workers are here, distinguished men whom it is a pleasure to meet. I am getting into quite a literary circle by degrees, and already feel more comfortable here than I did in New York. I dined a few evenings since with Dr. Schleimann, who has been digging up Troy, and expects to dig up the whole world before he gets through.
I have never been so thoroughly happy as I am here. have given up smoking cigars&pipes and am doing "my level best-" And I trust my many friends in America will here (sic) good accounts of me in the future.
With kindest-regards to yourself&Mrs. Emmons, and wishing you a very Happy New Year,
I am ever Yours Gilbert Munger
[Vertically on the left side of the final page] Both of your letters came safely and I shall write again as soon as I have anything of interest to communicate.
1877 — Munger spends the autumn at Dunkeld Scotland with artist Sir John Everett Millais. [Colburn's, p.661]
1877 — Gilbert Munger is NOT mentioned in the London Art Journal for this year.
1878 Jul 22 — "St. Paul may well be proud to claim this talented young artist, as he is rapidly developing into one of the recognized masters of the art of painting. For some time past, Mr. Munger has been at work in London, where he has established a studio, and has painted some very fine American landscapes for noble connoisseurs. He is now visiting Paris, and was recently one of a party of four who partook of the hospitality of Stanley, the African explorer, at a dinner party." [IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.4]
1878 Aug 17 — "The Art Gallery A deciding feature of the (state) fair will be the art gallery. This department has been placed in charge of Mr. R. C. Munger, who has entered upon the work of preparation with a system, energy, and determination that augurs well for a most complete exhibition. One step forward toward this result is the erection of an addition to the art building, 24 by 46. This addition will be used exclusively for the hanging of paintings for exhibition solely, while the paintings, photographs, crayons, etc., entered for competition will be hung in the old building. Among the artists who have signified their desire to be represented in the exhibition gallery, are Mr. Gilbert Munger, Carl Guthers, J.H. Meeker, and other of the famous artists of the country." [St. Paul Daily Globe, p.5]
1878 Oct 1 —
"The Art Gallery at the State Fair
The following list is furnished for the Minnesota Farmer by W. H. Chase of St. Paul, Assistant Manager of the Art Gallery:
Niagara Falls, painted by Gilbert Munger.
Scene on Pacific Coast, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by D. R. Noyes.
Lake Scene, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by D. R. Noyes.
Yosemite, by Gilbert Munger, ex. by Mrs. J. C. Burbank.
Shoshone Falls, Oregon, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by R. C. Munger.
Lake Tahoe, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by R. C. Munger.
Mississippi Scene, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by R. C. Munger.
Lake Tahoe, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by R. C. Munger.
Red River Cattle and Carts, by Gilbert Munger; ex. by R. C. Munger.
… ." [The Minnesota Farmer v.2, p.36, c.1]
1878 — Publication of Systematic Geology by Clarence King, volume 1, but one of the last volumes published, of the report of the Geological Survey of the 40th Parallel, in which all chromolithographs are "based on sketches by Gilbert Munger."
1878 — Munger spends the "season" at Skye, Stornoway, Loch Maree, and Dunkeld. [Colburn's, p.661]
1879 May 19 —
"American Artists at the Royal Academy - London Correspondence of the N.Y. Herald.
I saw many American faces, and certainly America has many reasons to congratulate Itself upon the success they year of its representatives to the London world of art. … Gilbert Munger, a New York artist, has had three pictures accepted at the first time of asking. Two of them were painted in Scotland, where Mr. Munger has spent the past two summers, and the other is a picture of Great Salt Lake and the Wahsatch mountains, and is a striking and effective representation of a scene familiar to travelers in the far west. Lock Maree is a place famous at present, because the Queen visited it two years ago. Mr. Munger painted it just after a storm, and has caught perfectly the beautiful rainbow and the sun struggling for supremacy. The best of Munger's three pictures, however, is "Loch Coruisk", which the committee has hung in the centre of the second room, over one of Long's great eastern pieces, which is the chief object of this section. Coruisk is one of the famous lakes of Skye. The picture is dark and somber, for the sun has set, though its light is in the sky and casts its reflection upon the mountains which surround the water. The lake itself is in the shadow, quiet and solemn, and the whole picture presents a sad and beautiful refrain. …" [The (Philadelphia) North American]
A recent London letter to the Hartford Courant reviews the pictures in the royal academy, and makes the following mention of Gilbert Munger, formerly a resident of St. Paul:
Near by, hung quite too high for anything like justice, is a lovely landscape, refined, delicate and beautifully painted, and we wondered it was not hung down on the line. It is a scene which is probably unfamiliar to most Englishmen. "A Mormon City and Watsatch Mountains" a range of perpetual snow clad mountains rising from the lake. The city of Salt Lake is shown at the base of the mountain, and the whole range is reflected in the lake. It was a satisfaction to hear Miliais and Frith pronounce an en- comium upon this picture. It was painted by an American artist, Gilbert Munger. He has, by the way, two other pictures in the academy this year, well hung in the second gallery, which is regarded as the Salon d' Honneur. Why this is so, I cannot say. These pictures represent two Scotch lochs, "Loch Cornisk," and "Loch Maree," and they are very dramatic and strong in treatment.
Loch Cornisk, in the Isle of Skye, is well known to tourists from the States, and it is poetized in that charming work "A Summer in Skye," by the late Alexander Smith. It is a lonely, desolate region, so strange and so grand that it is the place most selected by lords and earls to go with their yachts and spend two or three months recruiting from "over-culture." They take their servants and live in rustic luxury, close to nature. It is a famous resort of the Duke of Argyll and his friends. The picture is dramatic, weird and wonderful it gives all the sense of gloom and sombreness of this strange and gastly region. The black, basalt cliffs rise on each side 3,500 feet. It is a mile across the lake, and the depth of the water is deeper than the sea. It is supposed to be an old and extinct crater. The scene is all-most twilight, the sun is just going down, and is shining up, leaving all the lake in shadow. The cold mist is rising up from the lake and goes off in light cloud forms that are very real. It is a powerful land scape. Loch Maree is a representative of one of the characteristic inland lakes of Scotland the mountain side slopes gradually down to the lake and the fore-ground of the picture is composed of the gray rock broken up, and the delicate purple and red heather in blossom. It is an evening effect, the clearing off of a storm a rainbow appears on the mountain side reaching down into the lake. This place has become more than usually famous of late from the fact that it had been the resort of the queen. At least the queen spent ten days there two years ago, and since then the hotels have been overcrowded with her worshipers. The place is beautiful enough, and it must be in odd contrast to other places. It is here that the old highlanders who speak Gaelic are so terribly bigoted and dishonest. The queen, on a Sunday, wanted to go to a little island in the center of the lake not one of them would pull her over in view of Sabbath breaking. The queen did not simply understand the quality of Gaelic piety. It was at the same place that a gentleman traveler wished to cross to go to church. The regular fare to be ferried across was two shillings. The boat of course was hauled up for a dry Sunday. The traveler font the boatman, and offered "thrice his fee," which the canny Scot sternly and piously refused, for it was the "Holy Sabbath ye ken, mon!" The "mon" then said. "I will give yon ten shillings and sixpence." "Ah weal," said the Scotchman, "I will na' break the Sabbath for two shillin', nor six shillin', but I'll tak ye o'er for ten and six," and he took his chances with the monitor who is supposed to watch over a Scotchman's soul! Not one of the native highlanders is shown in the picture, which is the only lack that seemed to us to belong to it. It is one of the best landscapes in the room."
[St, Paul (MN) Daily Globe, p.2 c.5]
1879 Jun 10 — "Views and Notes - There are said to be only three artists in Europe who etch directly from nature on the copper plate. Two of them are Americans, Gilbert Munger and James Whistler." [Davenport (IA) Daily Gazette, p.2]
1879 Jun 20 — "Mr. Gilbert Munger, an American artist living in London, has recently been making some exquisite etchings of the older parts of the city, such as Fournham Court, where 'Ruth Pinch' used to meet her Tom, and the inns of court in general. The Burlington Fine Arts Society has taken Mr. Munger up, and he is now overwhelmed with orders for etchings. … The etchings are sold at high prices, yet secure a very large sale." [AH - Boston Evening Transcript, p.3 c.2]
15 Jul 1879 — "RELIC'S OF OLD LONDON. The Morning Post prints an interesting paragraph relating to the improvements in the Temple which will obliterate some of the old features of that classic neighborhood. As many of the picturesque nooks and old buildings of the Inns of Court are about to give place to modern “improvements,” the Fine Art Society has undertaken a series of etchings illustrative of those places. At Lincoln's Inn the old gateway in Chancery lane (on which it is said that Ben Jonson worked as a bricklayer) and the ancient dining hall (now the Court of Chancery) are selected for reproduction. In the Temple will be depicted Fountain Court, ever to be associated with memories of Dr. Jonson and Richard Savage, the nook adjoining the house of the master, where may be seen the stone with the inscription, “Here lies Oliver Goldsmith;” the Temple from the river, showing the famous dining hall of the Society of the Middle Temple and one of the old sun dials, suggesting that time and tide wait for no man. Mr. Munger is the artist intrusted with the work. Mr. Munger was recently making little sketches in a pocketbook of the little fountain celebrated by Charles Dickens, when he was asked to “move on” by one of the imposing beings in gorgeous array whose duty it is to keep a watch on the small boys and sparrows. “You can’t do drorings 'ere without permission,” said the Being. “But,” protested the artist, “you see, it's only a little sketch of that fountain.” “Can't help that; you mustn't.” Finally, after more squabbling, Mr. Munger was led off to the office of some magistrate, and there told that it he wrote a letter asking for permission he might in due course receive it. The official however, upon his common sense being appealed to, relented, and Mr. Munger, being released from the handcuffs of red tape, completed his sketch. His appointment by the Fine Art Society to illustrate these famous nooks of old London is, I suppose, sequel to the incident." [The New York Herald, p.5]
1879 Jul 18 — "Mr. Gilbert Munger, an American artist, has been commissioned by the Fine Art Society in London to make a series of etchings of the picturesque nooks and old buildings of the inns of Court, which are about to give place to modern improvements." [AH - Boston Evening Transcript, p.8 c.6]
1879 Sep 4 — "THE STATE FAIR ART GALLERY.
The oil painting gallery, under charge of R. C. Munger, contains several fine paintings of Mrs. J. C. Burbank; several very fine contributions from Mrs. Carson; several from Earl S. Goodrich; a dozen of the well known artist Gilbert Munger; one or two from Dr. Leasure, and four large oil paintings from Merrill. The gallery already presents a most attractive appearance." [Western Advance (Worthington MN), p.2]
1879 Oct 16 —
"IN HONOR OF GRANT - Senator Wm. Sharon's Reception to the
Ex-President [From the San Francisco Chronicle] … In respect to the number of its
rooms, the Belmont mansion of Senator Sharon is the most extensive private residence
in California and one of the most complete in the United States. … The pictures
on Senator Sharon's walls are none of them world-famous, but not a few of them
are strikingly original and more than one of them is a gem. Over the first
landing of the grand stairway hangs Gilbert Munger's Minnehaha, a marvelous
likeness of the lovely fall. … "
[St. Louis Globe-Democrat]
NOTE  Sen. Sharon's mansion was Ralston Hall. After William Chapman Ralston's death in 1875, the estate passed to his former partner, United States Senator William Sharon, whose family lived in the house until his death in 1885. Visitors during these years included former President Ulysses S. Grant in 1879.
1879 — Munger exhibits eight paintings as follows: at the Royal Academy No. 101 Loch Coruisk, No. 114 Loch Maree, and No. 593 Great Salt Lake, Mormon City, and Wahsatch Mountains; at Manchester A Glimpse of the Pacific and Loch Coruisk; at Newcastle-on-Tyne Woodland Streams and Herring Fleet; and at Liverpool Great Salt Lake. Of these seven were sold. [Colburn's, p.661]
1879 — "THE ROYAL ACADEMY - This year's exhibition of the Royal Academy is, in the language of London newspaper criticism, 'up to the average.' … Mr. Gilbert Munger contributes three landscapes: Loch Coruisk, a characteristic view of the sombre and lonely lake of this name in the Isle of Skye; Lock Maree, another piece of Scottish scenery, set about with bold grey rocks and purple heather; and a view of the Great Salt Lake and Wahsatch Mountains, doubtless familiar enough to most American travelers." [The Art Journal for 1879, New York: D. Appleton & Co., Publishers, p.219]
1879 — Munger, of 6 William St, Lowndes Square, London, exhibits three paintings at the Royal Academy: Loch Coruisk; Loch Maree; and Great Salt Lake, Mormon City, and Wahsatch Mountains. [Graves, p.325]
1880 — "Gilbert Munger, the American artist, has had a new series of successes in London. He has sold his six large paintings, which were recently exhibited in provincial exhibitions, and is now sketching in Cornwall." [MM - Boston Daily Evening Transcript, p.6 c.3]
1880 Mar 15 —
"Futher Notes on Academy Pictures
… A little further on is a landscape in a very different style, 'Tintagel Castle' (535), by Mr. Gilbert Munger, a painter whose name we do not remember before, but which we are likely to keep in mind, if he is able to do more such work as this. It is a scene taken from a low point of sight, amid hills with bright sunlight catching and spreading over the prominent parts of their folded grassy curves, the finest thing being the light on the bit of the hill on the left, the slope of which is interrupted by a ruined castle, which we can catch again higher up in brighter light, given with great truth and force of aerial effect. … " [The Builder, Building Publishers Ltd, v. 38, issue 1945]
1880 Apr 3 — "Art Notes — … Gilbert Munger, the well known American landscape painter, and who will be pleasantly remembered as at least a temporary Washingtonian during the early days of the war, is the subject of a half-dozen page biographical sketch in the London Biograph and Review for March. It gives quite a readable account of his quiet but somewhat eventful career, and justly praises his work, which Is now very popular in England. Indeed, perhaps aside from Mr. Boughton, Mr. Munger's efforts are more highly prized there than those of any other American artist, not excepting Bierstadt and Bradford, both of whom have enjoyed one time and another quite a run of patronage at the hands of the titled and wealthy picture buyers of Great Britain. So great has been his encouragement, in fact, that like Boughton, Mr. Munger has concluded to locate permanently in England. As the Biograph phrases it, "his bark has now been fairly launched on British waters, and he need not fear that any storm of envy or calumny will be raised to drive it out of its course." [The (Washington D.C.) Evening Star, Apr 3, 1880 p.5, c.5]
1880 Apr 14 —
"THE STUDIOS OF LONDON
A BUSY WEEK FOR THE ART WORLD.
preparing for the royal academy and
the grosvenor gallery exhibitions
— what the leading artists will
have to show a promising list.
London, March 31. A trying week for painters, for patrons, and for artists' friends. All intending exhibitors at the Royal Academy, outside the privileged body of associates and academicians, must send their works to Burlington House to-day or to-morrow.
There were here in Fitzroy-street also two fine examples of genre painting. Mr. Gilbert Munger must be called a foreigner. I suppose in the sense that he is not an Englishman, but is a citizen of the United States. He has a studio not far from DePrades, and I was glad to find him playing the showman to many visitors. Munger is 'getting along' well in London. Last year he was represented on the Academy walls by three landscapes. This year he will submit to the Burlington House committee a similar number, the result of four months' work during the past Winter on the coast of Cornwall. One of these is especially notable. It is close, almost photographic, representation of a rock standing out in a wide stretch of rippling sea. The fidelity of the great stone portrait does not detract from the general breadth of the pictorial effect. It is in striking contrast to the dreamy sketch of a bit of country near Utah, which I hope Mr. Munger will send to the Academy along with his Cornish pictures." [JM, New York Times, p.2]
1880 April 17 — "Art Notes. While, so far as we know, only three American artists send pictures to the Royal Academy exhibition now open in London. No less than seventy of our countrymen will be represented on the walls of the Paris Salon. Mr. Gilbert Munger sends to the Royal Academy three paintings, one of which represents a Cornwall coast view, and another a scene in Utah showing its opposite, a rich dreamy effect of color and atmosphere. …" [The(Washington D.C.)Evening Star, p.5, c.5]
1880 June — Colburn's New Monthly Magazine publishes a profile of Munger. [Colburn's.]
1880 — The Fine Art Society of Bond Street, London, is successfully publishing Munger's etchings. [Colburn's, p.662]
1880 — Munger, of 6 William St, Lowndes Square, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Hibernian Academy: Loch Coruisk, Skye. It is priced at 60 BRP. [Stewart, p.311]
1881 Apr 24 — "The following from the London correspondent of a New York paper will be of interest to the many friends of the artist in this community: Last year the Royal academy hung two or three of Mr. Munger's pictures on the line. They were chiefly marine subjects. This year Mr. Munger went to the Upper Thames for new inspiration. He built a sort of miniature Noah's ark upon a small punt or raft, and was moored for many weeks at a notable point of the river above Henley-on-Thames between March Lock and Wargrave. Here he painted in "rain and shine" the period of the year selected being the last days of autumn, and he has brought to London one of the most striking landscapes I have seen during my two day's peregrinations. The canvas is large, and the subject fills it thoroughly. You stand as it were on the banks of the river at sunset. A few stray leaves are floating on the flood; a punt is moored mid stream, where two people are fishing; a "water hen" is making for the shore. You look down into nature's mirror and you see the reflected glories of wooded hill and clustering beeches, yellow with the gentle decay of the English Autumn, deepening by the reddish-gold of the declining sun. It is as if in these two blended colors "refined gold" was at last really 'gilded'. The middle point of the picture is a clump of beeches. They are tree portraits. I knew the locality well, and the selection of the spot for a picture shows how well Mr. Munger has studied the river. He has painted one or two other examples of "the silvery flood and its pastoral banks", but the autumn scene is his chief d'oeuvre. This American artist has only been in England four years during which time he has worked his way steadily to a foremost place among landscape painters. He trained in a grand school, face to face with nature in her broadest field, the mountain ranges and lake countries of California." [IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.5]
1881 May 21 — "Considerable feeling is manifested in artistic circles in London over the exclusion from the Royal Academy this year of the pictures sent in by two members of the American colony in that city, … Messrs. Gilbert Munger and Ernest Parton. Both these gentlemen had won such success in England that they had a right to expect a contrary result, especially as many paintings confessedly inferior in merit by other artists were admitted. The purchase of one of Mr. Parton's landscapes for the nation by the Academy last year, certainly established his position as an artist in British esteem, and led to the belief that his two pictures sent in this year would find a good place on the walls; and this belief was strengthened moreover by the fact that both were very superior examples of his style and skill. As for Mr. Munger's offerings, it appears that they were "accepted," and he was so notified; but for some cause, as yet unexplained, they were returned to him. The reason or reasons for this action on the part of the management cannot be divined, but it is supposed that professional jealousy and favoritism in various forms, are at the bottom of it. Fortunately the reputation of both gentlemen is so well established in the best circles in England that they cannot be injured by the treatment they have received, but it is none the less unjust and mortifying to them and their friends." [MM - The(Washington D.C.)Evening Star, p.5]
1881 Jun 28 —
"FOREIGN NEWs AND GOSSIP
Gilbert Munger has taken a huge studio in the fashionable neighborhood of Grosvenor Square, in Brook street, London, and will soon open in connection with it a large gallery containing 70 or 80 of his most important pictures of American Scenery. Mr. Munger's collection of Rocky Mountain scenes is unique, and they will create a sensation in England. Visitors will be admitted to the gallery by card during the season." [San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin]
1881 Jul 10 — "The London Art Journal announces that: "Gilbert Munger has taken a huge studio in the fashionable neighborhood of Grosvenor square, in Brook Street London, and will soon open in connection with it a gallery containing seventy or eighty of the most important of his pictures of American scenery. Mr. Munger's collection of Rocky mountain scenes is unique and will create a sensation in England. …" [IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.5]
1881 Jul 15 —
The sketching-grounds of America offer a
splendid field to the landscape painter and to
the artistic student of nature. Some day a great
European master will paint American scenery,
and a great English critic will proclaim the new
work. Then the Hudson and the Mississippi,
the lake shores of Erie and Michigan, the hills
of the Sacramento, the fir clad heights of the
Alleghany Mountains, the picturesque pilot-boats
of New York, the clam-fishers on the flat reaches
of the Long Island coast, the tropical scenery of
the Southern States, the vast dream-like prairies
of the West, and the weird sierras of the 'sunlands'
will inspire the genius of the Old World,
and give a new set of landscape studies and seapieces
to the galleries of Europe. The mountain lakes of
California present probably more
strangely beautiful aspects to the lover of nature
and to the out-door artist than any water-scenes
on this side of the Atlantic. Mr. Munger, an
American artist, who sojourned a year or two
among the Californian hills for the purpose of
painting them, took home a number of sketches
that might well tempt an enthusiast to pack up
his impedimenta and start for the West by the
next steamer. Yet these subjects are so new
and so unfamiliar to the European eye, that the
artist finds his chief reward in studies of better known
scenery. His English works are hung
upon the line at the Royal Academy, but he
keeps his Yosemite Valley pictures in his private
portfolio, hoping that some day he may repeat
in England an experiment which he made with
success at Boston, in the United States, namely,
the exhibition of them as a whole in a West-End
gallery. Mr. Munger travelled for some time
with the Geological Survey of California, one of
the results of which important expedition was
Mr. Clarence King s delightful book on
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. I have lying
before me while I write a pen-and-ink picture,
not from this work, but from a reliable source,
which at the moment I regret I cannot recall.
It was given to me by a Western traveller only
the other day. It will convey to the artist what
I mean about subjects for the pencil. It is a
sketch of one of the partially filled-up mountain
lakes of California. The curving shore is
clearly traced by a ribbon of white sand upon
which the ripples play; then comes a belt of
broad-leaved sedges, interrupted here and there
by impenetrable triangles of tall willows ; beyond
this groves of trembling aspen ; then a
dark, shadowy belt of two-leaved pine, with here
and there a round convex meadow ensconced
nest-like in its midst ; and lastly a narrow outer
margin of majestic silver fir two hundred feet
high. The ground beneath the trees is covered
with a luxuriant crop of grasses, trilicum,
bromus, and calamagrostis, with purple spikes
and panicles reaching to one s shoulders, while
the open meadow patches glow throughout the
summer with showy flowers heleniums, gold
en-rods, lupines, castilleias, and lilies, forming
favorite hiding and feeding grounds for bears
Perhaps there is a deterrent suggestion in the mention of bears ; but Mr. Munger tells me he was never disturbed by wild animals of any kind. Sometimes he would have felt glad of such a relief from the awful solitudes in which he pitched his tent. Often he saw no living soul for weeks at a stretch, and his horse would often come to him from its feeding-ground and stand staring at him as if it too felt the solemnity of the magnificent stillness in the midst of which they were abiding together.
This sense of solitude seems to take a strange hold upon you in American woods and among American mountains. I have experienced it even in the railway cars when travelling through unoccupied wastes. The feeling has been intensified by the familiar sight at long distances of the solitary farmer s little family, a graveyard with its lonely tombstones. 'Let us be silent'; says Emerson, 'that we may hear the whispers of the gods.'; The gods have little interruption in American solitudes. If they speak to man where silence most reigns supreme, they should be eloquent in an American forest, or on the shores of a mountain lake.
Says Mr. Munger, in the course of a conversation I had with him about his experiences in the Sierras, and his wanderings with the Government expedition: 'There is nothing more extraordinary in the world than the group of extinct volcanoes, some of which I have painted. They begin with Mount Shasta, in the northern part of California, which rise 14400 feet above the sea, and contain a living glacier. Then you go on to Mount Hood, in Oregon, and to Jefferson and Adams and Reinier, in Washington Territory. The latter contains a living glacier twelve miles long and from one to four miles wide.'
'I thought there were no remarkable living glaciers on the North American continent', I remarked, 'and you speak of the most extensive ones I have ever heard of or read about.'
'A few years ago,' he replied, 'scientists, I believe, declared that there were no living glaciers in the country we are discussing. I do not think the details in figures I am now giving you have ever been published ; but they are geological facts. The range of mountains with these groups of extinct volcanoes and living glaciers ends with Mount Baker at Puget Sound.'
'One of your lake and mountain studies,' I said, 'gives remarkable detail of strata and foliage, although it must have been made many miles away from the subject. I know that the pure and rarefied air of these mountainous coun- tries appears almost to annihilate distance. How far can you see on favorable days in the Sierras?'
'I have seen a mountain by moonlight one hundred and fifty miles away, and, in the day, distinctly where he tree-line stops and the snow begins.'
'Do not exaggerate even a mile or two in the exuberance of your imagination,' I said, 'for the other day, when I mentioned to some friends that at a Chicago fire-station they can receive an alarm of fire, harness their horses, learn where the fire is, and be on their way to the spot, fully equipped, in less than seventeen seconds, some friends of mine thought I was joking, whereas at the Pioneer engine-house they did all this in my presence in less than ten seconds, indeed while I was in the act of setting my stop-watch to time them.'
'I will only give you simple, incontrovertible facts,' said the traveller-artist.'A group of these extinct volcanoes can be seen with the na ked eye three hundred miles away. One of Mr. King's topographers measured the distance in my presence. The lake and mountain picture which you admired just now is a scene itself 6000 feet above the sea, and the mountain chain of which it forms part is 9000 feet high. The mountain rising up snow-capped is the Wahsatch, one of the most interesting formations in the world. Scientists say that it embraces nearly every prominent feature known in the wide field of geological study.'
'The Wahsatch is near Salt Lake?'
'Yes ; if the town were put into my picture, it would seem almost part of the mountain, but it is seven miles away. Salt Lake City is situated in one of the most picturesque and impressive spots the world can show. Among the mountains and plains for months together you might sleep and take no harm in the open air, which is filled with the aromatic perfume of the pine forests.' " ["To-day in America. Studies for the Old World and the New" by Joseph Hatton, Section IV: "Art and Authorship", part III, page 23; appeared as Franklin Square Library, Number 196, Harper & Brothers, New York.]
1881 — Munger, of 11 Fitzroy St, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Hibernian Academy: King Arthur's Castle, Tintagel It is priced at £130. [Stewart, p.311]
From the 1881 census of England:
Dwelling: 11 Fitzroy St.
Census Place: London, Middlesex, England
Family History Library Film 1341041
PRO Ref. RG11
Piece / Folio: 0185 / 38
Page Number: 6
Richard GRIFFITHS, Head, M, Male, 63, Ireland, Costume Maker
Amy GRIFFITHS, Wife, M, Female, 34, Rutland, England, Costume Maker
Ellen JOHNS, Serv, U, Female, 27, London, Housemaid
Hannah DELLA, Serv, U, Female, 29, Royston, Hertford, Dom Servant
Gilbert Munger, Lodger, U, Male, 39, N S, America, Landscape Painter
Carlo F. Coscia, Lodger, U, Male, 44, Italy, Prof of Italian Lang
[Available at http://www.familysearch.org/]
NOTE  Thanks to Harold Bradley of Alamo CA for finding this item. He comments:
I'm not sure what the "N S" stands for in his listing — perhaps "No State," although I understand he was born in Connecticut. The LDS online database lets you wander up and down the street and check the other households. I did this and discovered many other artists in the neighborhood, including three who appear to have become famous in their own right.
Next door at #13 Fitzroy Street — Theodore Hines, 21, born Surrey, Artist. There was a landscape artist with the same name who painted in the Royal Berkshire villages and who exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists, and the Grosvenor Galleries. His brother, Frederick Hines, was also a noted landscape artist. At #1 Fitzroy Street — Edgar W. Hanley, 25, born London, Artist Painter. At the Cameo Auctioneers site, I found two framed oval watercolours signed Edgar Hanley. This may be the same man.
At #1 Fitzroy Street — William Hatherell, 25, born Gloucester, Artist Painter. There was an artist with this name who did illustrations for Thomas Hardy novels, including "Jude the Obscure" and for the American magazines, Scribners and Century. At #13 Fitzroy Street, I even found a 28-year-old woman named Emily L.H. Wallace who was a Teacher of Mesmerism. It was quite an interesting street!
1882 Feb 27 —
"ARTISTS AND THEIR WORK
Gossip about the painters and sculptors
The Society of Painters-Etchers of London has been very liberal in honoring American etchers. The following very varying workmen were elected members: James D. Smillie, Stephen Parrish, A. F. Bellows, F. S. Church, Otto Bacher, F. Duveneck, Kruseman van Elten, John M. Falconer, Henry Farrer, R. Swain Gifford, Thomas Moran, Mary Nimmo Moran his wife, and Gilbert Munger. Honors by wholesale miss the point. If the London society wishes the concurrence of these artists at the London exhibitions, it has done well for itself. But if the elections are in the way of honorary titles, the list is too long to make membership a distinction to be sought." …[JM - New York Times, p.2]
1882 Oct 22 —
"JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS
A Visit to the noted English Painter
How He Lives and How He Works
Another artist, Mr. Gilbert Munger, one of our prosperous and promising American painters in London, has told me much of Millais’s method. Mr. Munger has painted with the celebrated artist at Dunkeld for several years. They met totally by accident, became warm friends and have ever remain so. The rain is a daily visitor to the Scotch mountains, and communion with nature there is obtained only at the cost of very considerable privations. The artist does not come to his work every morning in a velvet coat and with immaculate wristbands, but he pops out of bed at sunrise, gets into a rough and seedy suit of clothes, swallows some oatmeal broth, and stalks off through an early shower to the place where the little cabin stands. The painter must have a cabin, otherwise the rains would ruin his canvas, if the winds did not blow it away. The huts are closed in on three sides and open in front, so that the artist gets a wide sweep of view at and around his subject. Millais paints all his landscapes out of doors, he would never think of making sketches, and taking them back to London to finish them in his studio." [Boston Journal, p.5]
1882 Oct 22 — "Mr. Gilbert Munger, the eminent artist, who is highly esteemed by all the older residents of St. Paul, which city he calls his home, writes from Venice a most interesting letter dated September 7th. He says:"
I have been here three months, hard at work upon a series of pictures, and shall return to Paris next week to do something near the forest of Fontainebleau. Thence I shall return to London. My life is a very busy one. I rise and breakfast at 5:30, then take my gondola and go to work. I am working twelve hours a day, which is too much for such a debilitating climate as that of Italy, and when I have moments to spare I study Italian, for it is necessary to speak the language, as English and French are little known. I have finished fifty pictures, and hope to return with sixty. Fortunately I have a large gallery to show them in and they may possibly be on exhibition in a Bond street gallery in the spring. I should much like to look in upon you, and also on my many good friends in St. Paul, but cannot spare time for so long a journey.
[IP - St. Paul Pioneer Press, p.12]
1882 Nov — Twelve Munger paintings of Venice appear in a Fine Art Society exhibition in London: In Nelson Room - 103. The Dogana; 104. San Marco and Della Salute; 106. Venetian Sails; 110. Twilight, Del Saluta; 111. From the Garden; 112. Venice; 113. The Approach to Venice; 114. Venetian Sails; 115. ditto; 117. Venice from the Garden; 119. P. and O. Steamer off Venice; 120. San Giorgio. The same exhibition included works by Arthur Severn, John Ruskin, and S. Prout. The catalog mentions that Ruskin was still in Italy, so perhaps Munger was there with Ruskin prior to the exhibition. [Catalog of the Exhibition of Pictures & Drawings of Venice and of a Series of Drawings of Egyptian Life by Carl Haag, also a memoir of the Late J. Bunny by A. Wedderburg, The Fine Art Society Ltd, 148 Bond Street]
1882 — Artist and friend Walter Paris visits Munger in London. [In a 1904 Jan 5 letter from Paris to Myra Dowd Monroe. See the entry for that date for his complete comments.]
1882 — "Munger, of 60 Brook St, Grosvenor Square, London exhibits one painting at the Royal Society of British Artists: Medmenham. The price is 35 BRP." [MM - Works Exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists 1824-1893, by Johnson, Antique Collector's Club, p.336]
1882 — "Munger, of 60 Brook St, Grosvenor Square, London exhibits one oil painting at the Royal Academy: No 478 Woodland Streams in gallery 5." [Graves, p.325]
1882 — Munger etchings listed for sale: The Inns of Court: Six Etchings of the Temple and Lincoln's Inn, by Gilbert Munger. Price £2 2 0, separately £0 10 6 each." [LP, Fine Art Society, Catalogue of Etchings and Engravings, under "Miscellaneous etchings", London, 1882. Available at National Art Library, London, Box VI 94 N.]
1882-83 — King "renewed his comradeship with Munger" in London. [Wilkins, p.329]
1883 Jan 25 —
To the Editor of the Globe: The following appeared in your paper recently:
Shoshone falls, off towards the Pacific coast, is declared by a far-Western paper to be second only to Niagara as a cataract. Snake River tumbles over it, and the fall is 210 feet.
This reminds me that a painting of Shoshone falls by Gilbert Munger, who studied the subject on the spot some years since, can be seen at the store of his brother, R.C. Munger, on Third street and compared with the painting of Niagara by the same artist. J." [St Paul (MN) Daily Globe, p.3]
1883 Apr 24 —
"AN AMERICAN ARTIST.
A Sketch of Gilbert Munger, the Landscape
Artist at his Studio.
Mr. Gilbert Munger is well known to many citizens of Duluth. He is a brother of R.S. Munger of this city and there are many pictures of his in Duluth houses. The Paris edition of the New York Herald has this about him:"
Perhaps one of the most talented of the American artists living in Paris is Mr. Gilbert Munger, the landscape painter. The reason that Mr. Munger is comparatively little known to the Parisian world is, first of all, that he confines himself entirely to his work, and, further still, that that very work has for many years past been sold in advance to agents in England.
To show how great the calls on Mr. Munger in this direction are, to say that during the past five years he has sold to the English dealers 140 pictures. By the contracts which he has with the English buyers, he has been unable to exhibit in the Paris Salon. True it is that he has been seen frequently on the line at the Royal Academy in London, but as yet the Salon has no work of his and will not see one this year. We shall see him in the Palais de I'Industrie next year, and with that we must be content.
Mr. Munger's career is a remarkable one. From his earliest years he showed a disposition to become an artist, but like many another youthful aspirant he found the lack of masters of any note to teach him in the United States. He found that the majority of teachers there were men who were themselves indifferent painters. That being so, after having had some experience in an engraver's office, he did what a good many artist has done before him: he started out to teach himself, and he sought out as a master, Nature. How well he succeeded is shown by the call which there is for his pictures. In recognition of his talents Mr. Munger has had decorations bestowed upon him by seven or eight countries, and is an honorary member of a number of art clubs.
The greatest compliment that can be paid to an artist was one bestowed upon Mr. Munger a few days ago by a gentleman who has an extensive knowledge of the art. He said to him, 'Mr. Munger, there is one thing I can tell you, and that is, that your pictures do not resemble those of any other artist of the present day.' In truth this is the key note of Mr. Munger and his pictures. He is original, and it is Munger and no one else. Maybe this is the effect of never having had a master. Perhaps it is that he follows a mode not usual, in painting his pictures direct from nature and even finishing them very closely from nature. He works continuously on the same subject until it is finished, and then he goes on to the next. He takes a great deal of time to find compositions which will make a good picture, and he pays careful attention to the time of day most suitable to give poetic effect to a peculiar style of scenery.
He follows the old Barbizon school, and at the same time his pictures have in turn been compared to those of Rousseau, Daubigny, Dias and so forth. When you ask Mr. Munger how it is that his works are so like one or the other of these artists, he will tell you that they are not really like, but that people are apt to make the mistake because he works on the same ground that those artists probably did.
Munger believes in the importance of water figuring in a landscape, for, as he says, it reflects the trees and the clouds so beautifully. Thus it is that we see water in nearly all his pieces. Next to the last-mentioned picture, on the easels is another simple and yet original landscape, formed of just a clump of beech trees, a pool of water, very dark grass, with the background gradually lightening up in tints.
The third is an arch of trees through which we see an effect of autumn tint on the trees beyond. Underneath the arch of trees a pool of water. There are several other works now on the easels, forming altogether a very good collection.
In addition to the ordinary landscapes he is very fond of river pieces, and he has taken pictures of the Seine twenty times between Reuil and Bougival, fifteen tines at Poissy, and he has pretty well covered the Oise between Conflans and Compiegne.
[Duluth Daily News, p.3]
1883 — Munger, of 60 Brook St, Grosvenor Square, London, exhibits one painting at the Royal Hibernian Academy: The Approach to Venice. It is priced at £60. [Stewart, p.311]
1883 ~ — "Through one art dealer alone in London over two hundred (paintings) were sold to the nobility of Europe. … The Royal Academy of London, the museums at Colberg, Berlin, Munich, Schwerin, Weimar, Meiningen, and in the Luxembourg Art Gallery of Paris, as carefully selected property of the public, they hold their own side by side with the masterpieces of all ages." [Memoir, p.13]
1884 Sep 19 — Gilbert Munger shows "Utah Valley, No. 112, (a good picture) at the Art Fare in Sacramento." [Weekley Bee (Sacramento), p.5]
1885 May 17 —
"CHOICE WORKS OF ART - A Charming California Home
The pleasant home of William Norris, with its genial atmosphere, tasteful appointments and pervading spirit of refinement, is one of the garden spots of San Francisco social life … One of the early paintings of Gilbert Munger, since become celebrated as one of the foremost lights of American art, presents a fascinating study. In the distance loom the stately Wasatch mountains, a storm beating wildly upon their sides and half concealing the summits. The eye retreats from the cold tones and threatening aspect of the hills to be surprised by the warm lights of a sunny landscape in the foreground, where tall grapes wave around the margin of a shallow pool. …" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle,, p.6 c.1]
1885 — Munger exhibits two paintings at the Royal Academy: No. 494 Castle Park, Warwick and No. 508 Autumn, on Avon. [Graves, p.325]
1885 — Artist and friend Walter Paris visits Munger in Paris. [In a 1904 Jan 5 letter from Paris to Myra Dowd Monroe. See the entry for that date for his complete comments.]
1886 Feb — "The most successful of his writings was a comedy in three acts, entitled Madelaine Marston. It was brought out in Theater Royal, Haymarket, London, February 1886, Helen Barry acting it with great success." See the complete scrip here. [Monroe-2, p.782]
Period 8: Barbizon period - Paris
Munger moves to France.
"Then he went to Paris, where he soon became recognized as the most talented landscape artist of the American colony. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, spending occasional summers in Italy and Spain. Upon the invitation of Mr. Ruskin, he went to Venice and painted fifty pictures which were exhibited in London, producing a sensation and establishing his fame in England." [Monroe-2, p.781]
1886 May 9 —
"New Original Paintings
We have on sale and exhibition two very fine paintings by Gilbert Munger. Our friends and patrons are invited to call and see them. Stevens & Robertson, 71 East Third street, St. Paul." [St. Paul (MN) Daily Globe, p2]
1886 May 19 — "Art Exhibitions.
Foreign art is represented in two other collections. The Hanover Gallery at the corner of Maddox street has again opened with a collection of pictures by some of the best know of the present and the last generation of French artists, and, on the whole, the character of the work is quite up to the level of the former displays. … Gilbert Munger would be more interesting if his work did not recall Corot so completely and now Diaz. … " [LP, The Times, p.?]
1886 Jun 10 — "There is one really notable picture by an America in London - Mr. Munger - which recalls Rousseau absolutely at his best. It represents three oak trees crowded together in a wildish land, the shadows not obscured and the lights still sober." Standard reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [ Memoir, p.15]
1886 Oct 4 — " … Beneath this vivid piece of coloring hangs a woodland picture by an American artist - G. Munger - that is one of the finest in the collection. It is suggestive of Constable and of Patrick Nasmyth, but like neither, and certainly deserves the highest praise." Morning Post reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]
1886 Oct 13 — The Brighton Guardian reports on the Royal Art Exhibition: "In the upper gallery is, to our mind, the gem of the collection, a view Near Barbizon, by G. Munger. The gifted artist, one of the many Americans who find artistic training and domicile in Paris, has given a bit of the grand old forest of Fontainebleau." [Memoir, p.15]
1886 Oct 19 — "A living painter of decided genius, approved by many splendid landscapes of late years, G. MUNGER revives the best traits of the Fontainebleau schools." [London Daily Telegraph]
1886 Nov 3 —
"Gilbert Munger, the American painter, who saw the Boulanger duel at Meudon,
near Paris, last summer, has painted a picture of the historic though bloodless
encounter, and it has been purchased by an American lady."
[Omaha Daily Bee, p.5, c.4]
NOTE  This duel with pistols occurred on July 17, 1886, between General Boulanger, Minister of War, and Baron de Lareinty, Senator, in the woods at Meudon near Versailles. It is easy to confuse this encounter, in which neither participant was hurt, with a July 13, 1888 rapier duel also involving Boulanger that was not "bloodless." Both duels received quite a bit of press coverage. The New York Times devoted an entire column to each affair (see 18 July 1886, p.7, c.1, for example). See the next item as to the source for the report that Munger attended. The location of the painting is not currently known.
1886 Nov 13 — This item show the more adventurous side of Munger's personality.
A Bloodless Duel.
By permission the following interesting extract from a letter from Gilbert Munger, the artist to his brother, Russell C. Munger, is printed by the St Paul Globe. The writer was an eye witness of the bloodless duel between Gen. Boulanger, minister of war, and Baron de Dareinty:
"On the afternoon before the affair I was secretly informed that the duel was to take place in the forest of Mendon, a few miles from Paris; that the parties were to take the train from Mendon, and then drive from there to the forest. I determined to be at the station, and follow them, and see the affair if possible. I sat up all night for fear of not waking in time in the morning, and at 5 o'clock took a carriage and drove out to the station at Mendon. But one man descended from the train, the editor of a Paris journal. He had come for the same purpose. I invited him to join me in the chase, and after taking a cup of coffee, we scoured the forest for two hours in search of them. Suddenly we came upon a carriage in the road which contained the priest and the surgeon. We hid our carriage away in the woods and watched the priest and the surgeon. In a few moments two carriages arrived which contained the principals and seconds.
They drove into the Park du Chalis, where they make the government balloons, and the gates closed behind them. We scaled the wall, which was about ten feet high, and entered the park. We were soon stopped by the soldiers. My friend fortunately had Gen. Boulauger's card in his pocket which we presented, and we were allowed to pass. Concealing ourselves behind a small clump of trees about two hundred yards away, we saw the whole affair unobserved, the account of which you have already read. I made a small sketch to indicate the position of the men. We then drove to the nearest station and sent a dispatch, giving a full account of the affair, to the Paris press; then drove to the Bois de Bonlougne and had a delightful breakfast after an exciting chase. Before we had finished our breakfast all Paris was reading extras containing our account of the affair. We then drove to the office of the minister of war, and I got a written permission to enter the park and paint a picture of the scene. On the following Monday morning I was at work upon the picture. It is now finished, and will be exhibited in the next salon."
[Harrisburg (PA) Telegraph, p.3]
1886 — "Of the Hanover Gallery I have little to say. Gems of the French and Belgian schools are selected for this exhibition with unerring taste. What pleases me most here is always the work of Gilbert Munger, an American artist, who lives at Barbizon, and who for years has saturated himself with the beauty of that nature that inspired Corot and friends. He sees for himself, and his own mark is upon all that he does. …" The London Echo [Memoir, p.14]
1886 — "We shall not quarrel with those who prefer the delicate Greville, by Millet, or the peaceful evening scene, Near Barbizon, by Gilbert Munger." The London Times reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]
1886 — "Rub out the signature of Gilbert Munger, an American painter, still young, we believe, from any one of his landscapes, and it would pass for a work of that same school which glorifies the forest scenery of Fontainebleau. Corot, in his deeper and firmer mood, is reproduced, with no slavish effort of dull mechanical imitation, but with the appreciative reverence of an original hand, by this same Mr. Munger." The London Daily Telegraph reporting on the Royal Art Exhibition. [Memoir, p.15]
1886-1887 — Munger paintings at the Winter Exhibition of Pictures in Oil and Water Colours of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 93 Near Barbizon. [LP, Exhibition Catalog, found in National Art Library, London, Pressmark NAL 200.B.H.]
1887 Jan 1 — "... Americans are docile, and enter easily 'dans la peau d'un outre,' though too often they seem to bring but little body of their own to fill the void. However, to imitate unservilely thoroughly fine work of the past and no longer recoverable school may be counted a pardonable and even welcome industry.In many of his essays after the manner of French landscape painters of Rousseau's time Mr. Gilbert Munger by no means cuts the figure of the ass in the lion's skin. The fact of his having adopted a certain style of composition and a mellow juicy and well defined key of colour has not entirely prevented his studying some points of nature for himself. Thus a certain struggle with difficulties other than the purely manipulative imparts to his best work an occasional suspicion of those capricious beauties, those apparent accidents, which give to genuine art so inexplicable and wayward a charm. All his pictures in the upper room of the Hanover Gallery may be pronounced unequivocal imitations, some of them more or less spirited and vital, others soulless and technical. Rousseau and Diaz are chiefly laid under contribution for ideas. Millet Corot and Dupré to a much lesser extent. Though Mr Munger has made the system almost too evident and has imported into it a clumsier handling of his own, yet his Forest of Fontainebleau - 95 very fairly illustrates the treatment by which Diaz managed to give the speckled sparkling of sunlight in a wood without making his rendering spotty and inartistic. A smaller picture 120 bearing the same title smacks rather of Rousseau but of all the imitations it is the most spirited, the most like an independent contribution to the school, and the most enlivened by interesting and informal looking workmanship. It may be said with some justice that Farmhouse near Anvers can be called no direct imitation of any one in particular, but then fresh and curious as it is, it bears no very distinct impress of style. There is more or less of Corot and Daubigny in the river pieces. On the Loing Gretz - 113, for instance, borrows much from the feeling and treatment of Corot. The paint, however, is thicker and more pasty and the touch less evident, and in this as in The Seine St Cloud - 98 and others the colour scheme is dark and active greens arc zealously excluded. Pond near Barbizon - 103 shows the influence of Millet. Near Anvers - 99, with its heavy colour balanced composition, stormy sky, and gloomy wind tossed trees reminds one ably both of Dupre1 and Rousseau. One or two pictures, though, conceived in the same rich vein of colour are voluntarily eccentric in arrangement exhibiting strange mechanical rows of poplars, after the manner of Chintreuil. Others again are coarse, soulless pastiches, such as the three oaks after Rousseau Forest of Fontainebleau - 119, of which the less said the better." [The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, London, p.161]
1887 Jan 26 —
Messrs. Hollender and Cremetti have recently made several additions to their exhibition. The upper gallery is devoted to a series of paintings by Gilbert Munger, an American artist who has studied in Paris. His colouring is of the quite rich kind, and he has a light and dexterous touch in dealing with clouds floating over a blue sky with reflections in water. The colour and perspective are very good in Forest of Fountainbleau (95) and there is depth in the mysterious black shadows in the picture of trees, water, and cattle, Near Grez on the Loing (117). Picturesque also are the Pond near Barbizon (103). The Oise, Anvers (106), Near Barbizon (116), and the Near Barbizon (108), 'Farm-House near Barbizon' (116), and the Forest of Fontainebleau (119). In his light and shade effects and manner of painting foliage Mr. Munger trusts more to strong contrasts than to variety of tones. One or two sketches in the collection are a crude as the others are mellow, but there is nearly always plenty of light and space in the skies. … " [Daily News (London), p.6]
1887 Mar 3 — "Where judgement is exercised in the purchase, an investment in pictures by young artists is about as profitable a one as can be made. With this view, let me recommend a visit to the Hanover Gallery, there to choose from Gilbert Munger's landscapes. The atmosphere and breadth of treatment in his canvases are wonderful." [Memoir, p.16]
1887 Aug 5 —
"THE AMERICAN EXHIBIT.
PHILADELPHIA WELL REPRESENTED AT THE GREAT SHOW
Philadelphia is well represented in more respects than one at the great American Exhibition, now open at West Kensington Gardens, London. … Among the Philadelphia artists whose pictures adorn the Gallery of Fine Arts at the American Exhibition are choice works of such talented artists as … Mr. Gilbert Munger and a number of others." [Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2]
1887 summer — Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 7 On the Loing at Grez; No. 8 Near Auvers, France; No. 16 On the Loing at Grez; No. 17 On the Seine, Bois de Boulogne. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]
1887 — "At the Hanover Gallery in Bond Street, among a miscellaneous collection of not very important pictures by Continental artists … The upper gallery has been filled by a collection of landscape studies in France by the clever American, Gilbert Munger. [See previous entry for a list of some of the paintings.] The large subjects from the Forest of Fontainbleau, though, like the rest of the artist's work, somewhat black in tone and heavy in handling, are poetic in feeling and impressive. American art, as we know it here in Europe, has been the product of Parisian, or Belgian, or Roman ateliers; and Mr. Munger's work has no stamp of nationality about it. If there is any reality in what Mr. Blackburn, Hon. Sec. to the exhibitions of English water-colours held in Cincinnati, and to be held by invitation at Chicago and St. Louis, calls 'the art movement in the West,' home art produce, warranted genuine from America, may yet be an imported variety in our over-supplied London market of picture exhibitions. Professor Herkomer, on the other hand, has been telling students at Toynbee Hall that there is no real love of art in America of the kind to foster and develop national talent." [The Portfolio — An Artistic Periodical, edited by Philip Gilbert Hamerton, London, 1887, p.83]
1887 Oct 20 — ." . . and a beautiful Gilbert Munger, the French-American, whom Hollander and Cremetti introduced to England last year, and whose fame will yet be great." Land and Water [Memoir, p.16]
1887 fall — "SOME LONDON EXHIBITIONS - … At the Hanover Gallery, however, one somewhat excuses the commonplace which seems an inevitable ingredient in a show of pictures offered for sale. Here we always find a few excellent foreign pictures and an example or two of the great landscape school of France. In this winter's exhibition … A set of pictures in the style of the French Romantic school of 1830, is much more amusing and artistic. Mr. Gilbert Munger, undoubtedly, has little originality, and is content to see nature through the spectacles of Diaz and Rousseau; but surely that is better than doing without any artistic vision at all? It is less impudent that the pretensions of some naturalists who would have us buy pictures, and for high prices too, into which they have confessedly put nothing of what the whole world has for centuries been pleased to call Art. Some of Mr. Munger's work shows an intelligent and feeling adaptation of the ideas and methods of his precursors." [The Art Journal, 1887, London: J. S. Virtue & Co. Limtd, New York: The International News Co, p.125]
1887 Nov 3 — "Near Arbonne, by a clever American artist G. Munger, is about as fine a landscape as anything of its kind since Constable." Whitehall Review [Memoir, p.16]
1887 ~ — Munger paintings at Joseph Israels Exhibition (not dated) at the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 20 Near Fleury, on the Seine; No. 36 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 26 Near Grez; No. 49 Near St. Germain" [LP, Exhibition Catalog, found in National Art Library, London, Pressmark NAL 200.B.H.]
1888 Mar 4 —
"A Visit to Munger & Farwell’s New Music Warerooms.
The old familiar sign of R. C. Munger is gone and in its place at 107 East
Third street stands out in bright gold letters 'Munger & Farwell.' We open
the door and enter, and presto, another change meets us. It is as though
some fairy had waived her magic wand and metamorphosed the whole place.
It is music, music, music; now music in front, music in the rear, music all over.
To the left as you enter is the handsomely carpeted office, with a magnificent
oil painting, the work of Gilbert Munger, of Paris, forming the background. Within sits
R. C. Munger, the same 'Russ' as ever, with his hearty welcome and pleasant smile.
He introduced us to his new partner, Mr. F. W. Farwell, whom we already know, however,
as he had been prominently connected with the music trade in our city for the past six
years. Both gentlemen rise and show us through the tastily fitted up warerooms, pointing
out here a Decker Bros., there a Haines and again a Briggs and other pianos, and now
the fine cathedral New England organ is before us, which, touched by the skillful hand of
Prof. Stollwerk, sends forth its deep, rich tones to even the equal of the pipe organ.
The large stock of sheet music and books, the fine display of violins, banjos, guitars, mandolins, etc., help to complete the picture and substantiate the statement made by Messrs. Munger&Farwell, 'There’s nothing in the musical line that we do not carry.'
We must not forget to mention several large and finely executed paintings hanging about the warerooms, besides the one first named, all by the same artist (Munger). These elegant pictures are alone worth a visit to these piano parlors.
We can only say in conclusion that everyone will find this store a pleasant one to visit. They will be cordially received and made to feel at home, even though they may be strangers.
Of their low prices and easy terms, the superiority of their instruments, etc., we will leave them to inform you when you write or call, as we have no doubt you will." [St Paul Daily Globe (Minnesota), p.4]
1888 Jun 13 —"THE HANOVER GALLERY -
Messers. Hollender and Cremetti's exhibit contains, among certain works not quite so worthy, a very fair proportion of others sufficiently to deserve attention. Moreover, the place of exhibition — the Hanover Gallery in New Bond street — is spacious, well-lighted, cool, and, which is less usual than desirable in London picture shows, exceedingly quiet. … There are but few British painters among the exhibitors. The majority belong to continental schools, the French, Dutch, and Belgian predominating. The is, indeed, one other artist of note who, though an American by birth, is so thoroughly Gallic in sentiment and manner that he has been usually classified among the Gauls. He is Mr. Gilbert Munger, of whose spirited and graceful art there are her various favourable examples. His landscapes are for the most part descriptive of French scenery in the neighborhood of Creil, Beauvais, Barbizon, Eragny, etc; but he has also two pleasant and picturesque views of Warwick Casle and the surrounding country. … " [The Morning Post (Minnesota), p.4]
1888-89 winter — Munger paintings at the Winter Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 2 Near Poissy; No. 4 Near Poissy; No. 7 Near Villien; No. 9 Poissy on the Seine; No. 31 Near Villiers on the Seine; No. 51 Near Etretat. Upper gallery: No. 97 Near Ablon; No. 105 Near Trien; No. 120 Near Fleury; No. 136 Sunset. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]
1889 February or March 12 — Letter from Munger to his sister-in-law Olive (in Duluth?):
35 Bould. des Capucines,
I copy from the Official Gazette of November last the following announcement
(Here follows in Spanish the notice that Munger has been awarded the Medal of the Liberator on 6 November 1888, with Munger's translation.)
I receive your congratulations in advance, for I have received the decoration and another will follow soon from Saxony. G.M.
[Tweed Museum files]
NOTE  We deduce the date as February or March 1889, since the 12th fell on a Tuesday in those months. The address places him in Paris.
1889 March 15 — Letter from Munger to his sister-in-law Olive (in Duluth?):
A letter from Germany received this morning informs me that "His Royal Highness the reigning Duke of Saxe Meininger has conferred upon Gilbert Munger the order of the Grand Cross of Saxony, and you will receive the Cross and Diploma in a few days. I think this is good news and I am glad, doubly glad, because you deserve this high recognition."
[Tweed Museum files]
1889 Apr — "In 1872 the firm of Munger, Markell & Company was formed, consisting of Mr. (Roger) Munger, Clinton Markell, Russell C. Munger, heretofore mentioned, and another brother, Gilbert Munger, a distinguished American artist, now and for several years residing in Paris, France. The firm build a second elevator at the head of Lake Superior, known as Elevator No. 1, which was burned in 1880. After a few years, Russell C. and Gilbert Munger retired, and the firm has since been continued as Munger&Markell." [Magazine of Western History, Nov 1888-Apr 1889. p.167]
1889 April 3 —
"Art Exhibitions. It will be admitted with regret
that the Royal Society of British Artists has nothing of exceptional interest
to show in the exhibition which opened this weekend. The visitor to the convenient
Suffolk-street rooms will look in vain for the artists who made the place
noteworthy a year or (missing word) ago.
Among the landscapes are a good many of G. Munger's river scenes, several by L. Chevalier, all very bright and green …" [LP, The Times, p.6 ]
1889 April 19 — Letter from Munger to his sister-in-law Olive (in Duluth?):
I will let you know when the "City of Paris" arrives at Queenstown. My Saxon Cross came this morning from Berlin & the letter says. "You should not fail to visit Germany, as you are now entitled to be invited to dinner at Court. The Duke will receive you very kindly." … Faithfully Yours Gilbert Munger
[Tweed Museum files]
NOTE  Queenstown is a port in Southern Ireland and was the European terminus of steam ships from New York such as the "City of Paris."
1889 Jun 15 —
"ART — Mr. Gilbert Munger, the landscape painter, a resident of this city during the war, but
afterward residing in London, and more recently in South America, and winning a fair measure
of fame and fortune in both hemispheres, has lately received from the President of Venezuela
'The Officers Cross of the Order of Bolivar'. This is a distinction rarely conferred on foreigners."
[Evening Star (Washington D.C.), p.11]
NOTE  This is the only mention found so far that Munger traveled to South America. There are two Munger Barbizon paintings in Venezuela collections. A list of his honors written in his own hand includes that medal, but he learned he had received this honor while living in Paris in early 1889. He received many other medals from other countries in 1889 and 1890, mostly by the post. Until further evidence of a South American trip is discovered, we must rate this claim as not sufficiently documented. That hand-written list of honors also states "Student of Rousseau, Corot, Daubigny." It is not clear whether he meant that he had lessons from them or that he studied their works.
1889 Aug 25 — "Almost all interest in art circles just now is centered in the State Fair exhibit, for which Col. R. C. Munger and his aides are doing some determined hustling. Some of the pictures from abroad which are to be exhibited, but which will not be for sale, have been here for a week, and will be put in place in a few days. (Included are the paintings) Venice and On the Avon, by the well-known American artist, Gilbert Munger, whose works are attracting such wide attention on the continent." [St Paul Daily Globe (Minnesota),]
1889 Sep 9 —
"The Thirty-First Annual State Fair Is Auspiciously Opened
The Art Gallery
Two very fine works by Gilbert Munger, the well-known American artist, in Paris, were also among the visible yesterday. One is a view of Venice - beautiful, and great alike in coloring and execution. The other is a scene on the Thames; in the foreground the surface of the placid river, upon which float in lazy luxury a couple of royal swans. The banks of dark green foliage reflect their varied tints in the quiet stream, and the whole scene carries with it an impression of restfulness and causes the beholder to remark that it should have been named 'Far From the Madding Crowd'." [St Paul Daily Globe (Minnesota), p.2]
1889 Sep 10 —
"Formal Opening of the Art Department —
A Superb Display
The Art gallery opened yesterday afternoon, and was immensely thronged with visitors who found great comfort and restfulness in the quiet, cool hall, so different by contrast from the other departments. It needed but a few glances around the hall to show that R. C. Munger, superintendent, and his assistants had done their work successfully. There are two rooms, the exhibition room and the competition room. In the one are hung pictures which decline to receive medals and diplomas, though some of the pictures are for sale, and in the other are the pictures which indulge in rivalry.
(In the exhibition room) R. C. Munger exhibits Gilbert Munger's work, the scene in Venice, familiar to St. Paul people, but none the less beautiful; two scenes on the Avon, bringing out with effect the contract between the heavy, peaceful foliage of the river bank and the smooth water of the river; a train of Red River carts in camp in 1860." [St. Paul Daily News, p.1 c.1]
NOTE  R. C. Munger is Gilbert's brother.
1889-90 winter — Munger paintings at the Winter Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 6 Near Bourron, France; No. 8 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 13 Near Rueil, France; No. 15 Near Nanterre, France; No. 57 Near St. Germain, France; No. 85 Mount Valerian, near Paris; No. 98 Near Marlotte, France; No. 106 Near Fleury, France. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]
1890 Jan 12 — " … A number of local art dealers have recently suffered serious losses from picture thieves. Steven's gallery was visited by one of these gentry last week and a small painting by Gilbert Munger, belonging to Mr. Hazeltine and valued at about $500 was taken. It was 12 x 18 inches in size, and was torn from its frame, having been placed on the floor and presumably carried away under the thief's coat." [The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago)]
1890 summer — Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 5 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 7 Near Grez, France; No. 13 Forest of Fontainebleau; No. 14 Near Franchard, France; No. 43 Near Nanterre, France; No. 78 Near Marlotte, France. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]
1890 Oct 23 — The London Telegraph report on the Winter Exhibition at the Hanover Gallery says: "There are several fine examples of the art of Gilbert Munger … The gems of the collection are, perhaps, the landscapes and figure pieces of Corot, but we confess that the view near Franchard, by Munger, with its lovely distance and quiet, harmonious tones, runs it somewhat hard." [Memoir, p.14]
1891 Jan 13 —
"SOME FINE PAINTINGS
A PHILADELPHIA COLLECTION IN BOSTON
Good Examples of Famous Artists at Doll&Richards — Pictures by Daubigny, Munger, Munkacsy, Rousseau, Madrazo and Others
It is not often that picture-lovers in Boston have the privilege of seeing so large a collection of fine paintings as that now on view in the galleries of Messrs. Doll&Richards on Park st. The collection is the property of C. F. Hazeltine of Philadelphia.
Gilbert Munger, the sole American painter represented, has two examples that bear comparison with any landscape in the room. The atmosphere is wonderful and the color superb. They are full of light and air. … " [Boston Daily Advertiser]
1891 Apr 11 — "HASELTINE'S COLLECTION - Some Beautiful Pictures at Art Association - Paintings by Famous Artists - The Haseltine collection of pictures was exhibited at a private view yesterday at the rooms of the Art Association. There are some 270 pictures in the collection, many of them signed with famous names. … Gilbert Munger has some dainty landscapes. …" [AH - San Francisco Examiner, p.3 c.4]
1891 Jun 6 — Munger painting sold at London auction. The catalog title page shows:
Catalog of the highly important collection of modern pictures formed by Charles P. Matthews, Esq., deceased, late of 23 Hertford Street and Havering-Atte-Bower, Essex, which (by order of the executors) will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson&Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Saturday \ June 6, 1891 at one o'clock precisely.
On page 21 of the catalog appears: "Gilbert Munger 95. San Marco and Della Salute 19½ in. by 29½ in." Handwritten notes on the facing page record that the painting sold for £63. to C.M. According to Marijke Booth of Christie's Archive Department these initials appear several times in this sale, either as a buyer or as a bidder. It could be the initials of a staff member who bought on behalf of somebody else, or it could be a member of the family of Charles P. Matthews. This painting may be #125. [VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]
1891 Jun 21 —
"The Fine Arts —
Mr. Hazletine has on exhibition at the Stevens
Gallery a large collection of modern paintings of more than ordinary interest.
The works are chiefly those of European artists, although there are several
creditable paintings by Americans.
… Long section here describing works of many European artists. …
There are in the collection landscapes by Charles Lindford, L. Munthe, Gilbert Munger, Michel, Senot, and others. …
Taken all in all the collection is an excellent one; there are no positively bad works in it. It will remain in exhibition for a few weeks, after which Mr. Hazletine goes to Europe in search of new works." [Chicago Tribune, p.14 c.4]
1891 summer — Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 1 Near Grez; No. 51 Near St. Germain; No. 66 Near St. Germain. [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]
1892 Apr 25 — "A NOTABLE COLLECTION OF ART - The Sale of Colonel P. A. Finagin’s Paintings … 'The Wasatch Mountains' by Gilbert Munger was purchased 20 years ago, and is the best specimen of that artist’s work in America. It is a very large canvas, and the subject is boldly treated. …" [The Argonaut, San Francisco, p.7, c.4.]
1892 May 19 —
A Munger painting is sold at the Finigan Art Sale
in San Francisco: 7. Wasatch Mts.
[Barid collection, Special Collections, General Library, UC Davis, CA, card 1]
The auction results were reported in the newspaper the next day. Munger's picture is not mentioned. [AH San Francisco Chronicle, p.12 c.6]
1892 Nov 1 —
"McLean's Gallery No. 7 Haymarket (London)
… A little cabinet picture on panel by Gilbert Munger, a scene near Suresnes, is one of the best pictures. ..." [The Artist, p.334]
1892 — A Munger painting referred to as "Duluth" is listed in the inventory of the estate of Anna Wormley, wife of the owner of the Wormley Hotel in Washington D.C. The painting is listed as being displayed in the "Large D'g Room" along with a portrait of Queen Victoria and approximately 14 other paintings and engravings. [Information provided by Donet D. Graves; see entry for 1911 Jun 17.]
1892 — In an interview in Paris, 1892, he was asked why our artists live abroad, and said in reply:
If you insist upon a categorical answer to the question, Why do American painters live abroad? I must say that I cannot give it; but one of the reasons for my own stay, now prolonged since 1873 (sic) - and the reason with which I am fond of appeasing my own patriotism whenever it urges my return to the blue skies of my native country - is the increase of knowledge and the sure means of growth in art everywhere at hand in these old lands.
Furthermore, it is in Europe rather than in America that the indefinable and singular charm in painting which men call style is most readily attained. Perhaps the ample survey of the whole field of art offered in Europe letter enables a man to 'strike his personal note,' as the French say - to find out his failings and avoid them, I should say. The gratifying measure of success which has greeted my humble efforts in these latter years is due, I am sure, to having found a way to my own style through a number of experiments and a series of careful observations which I should not have been able to make it settled at home. There is a crystallization of style in painting, as in literature. Is, of course, a slow process, and, in my own case, is the fruit of long seasons of painting in the foothills of my own Rocky Mountains, in the shadow of El Capitan in the Yosemite, and of St, Paul's Cathedral in London; of work in the open in Scotland with Sir John Millais; of solitary toil in the lagoons of Venice, and, finally, of the long and thoughtful season of severe effort in Fontainebleau Forest in the track of the masters. It is in following successively such widely differing phases of nature and art that I have at last come to a final phase of my own painting, about the recent general recognition of which the Journal kindly asks, Could I have reached this stage at home? frankly, no; but mainly for the reason that art is as yet comparatively undeveloped in America, and not because of any special limitations of the country itself.
1893 Mar 31 — Announcement of the April 6th sale of the Blakeslee Paintings. It will include: "three landscapes by Gilbert Munger, an American who has lived a good deal in London." [New York Times, p4 c.6]
1893 Apr 6 —
"BLAKESLEE SALE ENDED. Many Valuable Pictures Bought By Agents —
Total Receipts, $136,630.
The closing sale of the Blakeslee collection was held in Chickering Hall last night. The bidding at no time was lively, and the majority of works went to agents who were buying for persons whose names were withheld.
The entire lot offered during the two evenings embraced 148 pictures. On the first nights $34,480 was realized, but the last night's sale brought the total up to $136,630. …
The biggest price paid for a single picture was $29,250 for Troyon's "The Approaching Storm."
Among the lots over $400 were — "Gilbert Munger, Sunshine and Shadow, $600." [New York Times, p.5 c.3]
1893 Apr — From the catalog of the Columbian Exposition (World's Fair), Chicago: "MUNGER (Gilbert Davis). Paris, France. The Rising Moon. #1075." The painting was offered for $500. [NMAA, p.293]
Period 9: Reestablishment in America - Washington D.C. and New York
1893 Apr 28 — Munger returns from Europe to New York City. [Cummings, p.12]
1893 Jun 3 —
"HIS NATIVE LAND - Mr. Gilbert Munger, the Eminent Artist,
Returns After Spending Years Abroad - HIS FINE PAINTINGS AND METHODS -
Comment on the English and French as Entertainers - Caustic Criticism
Gilbert Munger, the distinguished American artist, is in the city once more after an absence of sixteen years. Not withstanding his long absence of sixteen years, he is still the American, with a love for his native land, as anyone may gather from conversing with him, and that he is distinguished no one who has the slightest knowledge of the world of art can be ignorant. From the time when he first went abroad sixteen years ago (1893 - 16 = 1877), his success has been wonderful, and his career in his profession has been brilliant and progressive, until now his paintings are found in all the art galleries of England and the continent and his work has a prominent place on the walls of every considerable private gallery. Mr. Munger's long residence abroad has given him somewhat the air and the accent of an Englishman, but he is a man without affectation of any kind, one of the simplest men in the world to meet. Since his coming here he has constantly met old friends, who have by no means forgotten him, and they will have opportunity to renew the acquaintance, for he proposes to remain here for several months resting. Mr. Munger arrived in New York April 28, and after visiting Washington and Chicago reached St. Paul Wednesday.
Mr. Munger was asked to give some account of himself, and protesting that he ought not to speak of his own work he was still persuaded to do so. Speaking of his earlier career he said:
'My first art work was done in the Rocky mountain region, where I was connected with the first survey, under Clarence King, ever organized by the government. It was there that I made and finished studies of what I saw, painting the geological formations with careful detail, so that a geologist could tell the species of rock from
LOOKING AT THE PICTURES.
It was rather remarkable that these pictures were afterwards loaned
to the scientific school at Yale college to be used by the professors in
their geological lectures.
'After I finished my engagement with Mr. King I went over this ground again on my own account with my own men and supplies, and it was on this second expedition that I met with a party of English gentlemen. They took great interest in my work, and gave me a number of orders, and advised me that I ought to go to England, where my work would be more appreciated and where the artistic atmosphere would be an aid to success. I took their advise and went to London, where I found that what they had told me was true. After exhausting my American studies I
CHANGED MY METHOD COMPLETELY
and went to work painting the natural scenery of England and France,
changing from mountains, bluffs and rugged natural scenes, such as I had
been handling, to the soft, mellow and reposeful scenes of the countries
named. You can see that the subjects chosen would be very simple, so that
the thoughtless person might wonder how it could be worthy of a painting,
but in that very thing lies, as I think, the art. There must be the art, the
poetical treatment, so that it may appear as an object of beauty and reach
the inner subtle sense agreeably. There is infinite progression in this
'I followed as closely as I might without becoming a mere imitator what is called the Barbizon school of art, which as you known, is the school of the great French artists of 1830 - 40. Corot, Rouseat (sic) and the others, and in a short time I became very successful, selling everything that I painted to a London firm, which took them at prices that were quite satisfactory.'
Then Mr. Munger, in answer to an interrogatory, explained that he had
NEVER TAKEN AN ART LESSON
in the whole course of his life. He had always proposed to be a landscape
painter from a boy, and when he was in Washington as a youth working for
Commodore Wilkes he had roamed over the hills of Georgetown sketching the
trees and other natural objects until he could learn to draw their forms
'I was a constant exhibitor,' he said, 'at the Royal academy and at all the large provincial exhibitions. It was my pleasure to be a friend of Millais and we have worked together in the highlands of Scotland.'
Speaking of his manner of working, Mr. Munger said that it had been his habit for many years to work all night, as long as from 9 o'clock in the morning to 3 o'clock at night. In London he drew many of his large pictures on the Thames. He says:
'I had a large studio boat, which was called Noah's Ark, and in this I could set up a canvas eight feet long., and there I worked at it every day until it was finished, and then put the picture in its frame without looking at it again. Some people have an impression that a man goes out and makes sketches and then finishes his pictures at some other place than that at which the sketch was made, but I have never used sketches. I ascertained the time of day in which the subject appeared the best, either morning, noon, or night, and then went back again and at that hour worked at the subject until the work was done.
'In order that an American may appreciate a foreign landscape of the poetical school it is necessary that he visit the locality. The American atmosphere has a dryness and hardness that gives the impression of unreality and makes it difficult to feel the proper appreciation.
'Some people ask, Why these nooks, these trees, a simple pool of water, a few trees with a figure in the foreground and a hazy atmosphere? Now, that is the very thing I wish I could make plain to everyone,' said Mr. Munger with enthusiasm; 'it is the picture that suggests to you; you do not see everything; it is the
stimulated by delicacy of suggestion, and the more a picture suggests,
the higher the art, the more lasting the effect upon you.
'I have lived in Paris six years. My people preferred eventually the French subjects of the Barbizon school, and I went to France in summer and back to London in winter, but the winter was so dark and foggy that I could not work to advantage, and so I decided to live in France all the year round. I still sold my pictures in England to the firm that I had made the agreement with. However, I have sold pictures in Belgium, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, South America and the United States, as well as in England. A number of my pictures have been ordered for royal museums and will always be retained as public property. In Paris I spent much time in the forest of Fontainebleau and near the city, as well as made excursions into the provinces. The social life abroad? Well, London is much to be preferred to Paris, for the Englishman is the most hospitable man in the world. He is a perfect host, for the wealthy Englishman
LOVES TO ENTERTAIN.
After I had been in London for a few months I knew more people than I had known through living in New York for eight years. The American is the same there as the Englishman, and is particularly welcome if he has something new to tell. In that case the Englishman is delighted with him and can make him very happy by the nicest hospitality in the world. He asks you to dine with him: that never means a club or restaurant dinner, never; it means that you are to go to his house and dine with him there.
IN PARIS IT IS DIFFERENT.
The Parisian does not invite the foreigner to his house. An invitation to
dine means a visit to a cafe. The American in Paris is cut off almost
entirely from the social life of the people. There is the American colony,
and occasionally one may see accounts in the papers of their great reception
of some very rich American who is there. The French all go to these great
affairs, for they will go anywhere where there is a good time to be had, but
they do not return these courtesies, except vary sparingly, and then only
when it is impossible for them to avoid it.
'I have been asked by many people how the art section of the world's fair in Chicago compares with the art exhibitions at the other of the world's fairs and great exhibitions abroad. I tell these people that it is not as fine as any of the art exhibitions I have seen in Paris or on the continent. The main reason is, perhaps, because the government and collectors who own most of the great masters will not permit them to go across 3000 miles of ocean and back again for fear that they may be injured. To give you some idea of the values at which these paintings are held and of the cost of the one item of insurance let me tell you of an art exhibition in Paris last summer called 'The One Hundred Masters.' Although these picture remained in France, the insurance alone was 19,000,000 of francs, nearly $4,000,000. The French government absolutely refused to allow her pictures and art treasures to be sent from her galleries.
'It follows that in foreign works of art the world's fair will be inferior to the other great exhibitions, in respect to all foreign countries except Germany. That country had no exhibit of art in Paris at the exhibition there. I think the greatest lesson that the American is to learn from the world's fair lies in the
MOST MAGNIFICENT ARCHITECTURE
that the world has ever seen. I spent several days at the fair, and
hardly went inside one of the buildings. I was lost in admiration of the
buildings; their splendid architecture; their admirable groupings. When the
manner in which they are gathered together there is considered, I think the
place is superior to the famous Place de la Concorde in Paris. Is it a pity
that they are not built in marble so that they might stand for all time.
'These buildings will afford and unparalleled object lesson for the American people who are comparatively ignorant of fine architecture. I was in New York recently and was shown through the city. There were what was called fine buildings - the Vanderbilt house on Fifth avenue, a horror of architecture. Just across the avenue was the Huntington house, another horror. The idea of utility seems to sink every other consideration in the majority of buildings.
'Then I went to Washington, and the despised White House seemed to me to be the finest building I had seen anywhere. I believe today that it is the
FINEST BUILDING IN AMERICA
Please understand that when I speak in praise of the buildings at the
world's fair I include the ensemble, the groupings, the effect, as well as
each particular building. The huge commercial building is monstrous. You
cannot make it beautiful.
'Now I am no longer a child, and I have, I think, learned all I can learn from the masters. I would like to earn that recognition in my own country which I have won abroad. I should like to identify myself with the people of my own land and take an interest in their art life. A man ought not to forget his own country even after a long residence abroad. At least, I shall visit here for several months.'
Mr. Munger has brought with him about eighty pictures, some of them not yet finished and many not in frames. He intends to have his friends look at them some time, if they wish, but when the idea of putting them on public exhibition was mentioned he did not know that there would be an exhibition of that kind." [St. Paul Dispatch, p.5 c.2]
1893 Jun 4 — "Gilbert Munger, the artist, is home again after a residence of sixteen years abroad in England and France. He has brought with him home eighty of his pictures, and his St. Paul friends are promised the pleasure of looking them over with him at some time." [St Paul Daily Globe (Minnesota). p.13]
1893 Jun 19 — Munger's letter to his niece Alice Silvey:
The Aberdeen - My dear Alice
Your very kind letter has been duly received, and also the cards of invitation to your wedding, neither of which come as a surprise.
There seems at present no immediate prospect of my coming to Duluth, but I believe Uncle Russ is arranging for a joint visit on the occasion of the wedding, the most important event thus far to you, and to all of those who embark for the first time upon the untried sea of matrimony, and in which I can only wish you find in it "that peace and joy which passes all understanding."
Since arriving in America all seems strange. I am constantly meeting old friends who bear with them the evidence of long years of separation, and the new generation which has sprung up in the mean time also serve to remind one of the too long absence abroad.
It is a melancholy pleasure to be presented by the Mother of 50 to the daughter of 20, who is the exact counterpart of the Mother who in my youthful days was my favorite partner in a Waltz or Cotillion. And I walk the busy streets unrecognized and unknown in my Native land. "And none so poor as to do him honor." At times it brings a tinge of sadness, and a desire to return to a country where I have never had a home except perhaps a temporary abode with the amiable and sympathetic Peasant.
If however in the next few weeks it will be my fate to become a Millionaire (this misfortune has come to many of my friends) I shall be better able to adapt myself to the new conditions in which I find myself so suddenly placed.
With all the joys in store which you predict, and the many more which remain untold, it will be hard indeed to resist much longer a visit to your beautiful home with its delightful surroundings.
And with kindest regards and good wishes to Mr. & Mrs. Silvey (the one that is to be)
I am faithfully Your
June 19, 93
[Letter in the Tweed Museum files]
NOTE  There was a hotel named 'The Aberdeen' at the corner of Dayton and Virginia in St. Paul MN from 1887 to 1920. According to a description from the Minnesota Historical Society it was just the sort of place Munger would choose to reside on a visit. Thus it is likely that this letter places him in St. Paul, which is consistent with other evidence, such as the previous entry.
1893 Sep 17 —
The exhibition at Minneapolis has a gallery devoted to the fine arts, in which artists of that flourishing city are represented. There is a large marine with fisher lads and maids in a boat, the work of Hans Dahl, and a collection of views taken from France by Gilbert Munger, an American who was for many years resident in London. French, German, and Scandinavian pictures, as well as works by natives, are to be seen. …" [JM, New York Times, p.16]
1893 Oct 31 —
Gilbert Munger — Art in America, to one who has been associated with the works of the old masters and the greatest living painters, seems to lack seriousness. One of the main faults apparent is the luxurious living of the artists. They lack the physical strength to endure a long and earnest study of art as did the founders of the Barbizon school, the popular and as well as great school of to-day. Studio teas and receptions, full dress suits and that style of living takes up too much of the time of the young American artist, who upon the first evidence of genius is lionized and spoilt of any serious, earnest, hard work." [St. Paul Daily News (MN)]
NOTE  This must be a paraphrase or quote of Munger's negative comments on the art scene he found when he returned to America.
1893 Dec 8 — Munger painting sold at London auction. The catalog title page shows:
Catalog of modern pictures of the English and Continental Schools, the property of G. H. Edmonds, Esq., deceased, late of Canterbury House, Gravesend, and Miss Marshall, deceased (sold by order of the executors); pictures, the property of a lady; another property received from the continent; also pictures from various private sources: which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson&Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Saturday December 8, 1893 at one o'clock precisely.
On page 13 of the catalog in the section "Different Properties" appears "Gilbert Munger 1885 103. Autumn on the Avon 19½ in. by 29½ in." Handwritten notes on the entry record that the consigner was Mrs. Amphlett of 2 Queens Gate Terrace in London SW and on the facing page that the lot sold for £17.17.- to Permain, a dealer in London. This painting is very likely the one shown at the Royal Academy in 1885 (see entry for 1885 above). [VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]
1894 Jan 17 — "That clever artist and agreeable man, Mr. Gilbert Munger, has determined, after many year's experience in Paris and London, to live in Washington, the beauty of which charms him. Mr. Munger has taken a fine studio at 1424 New York Avenue, where before many weeks he will be ready to receive old and new friends and show them a gallery of interesting pictures. The sooner art moves on the Capital the better for the whole country." [Kate Field's Washington, v.9, n.3, p.46]
1894 Jan 31 — "Another studio has been opened in Washington. Mr. Walter Paris mixes art with music every Saturday, from two to six o'clock, at 1420 New York Avenue. Mr. Paris' studio adjoins Mr. Gilbert Munger's." [Kate Field's Washington, v.9, n.5, p.77]
1894 Apr 4 — "Apropos of art, Mr. Gilbert Munger has at last succeeded in setting his new studio to rights and has every reason to rejoice in the transformation he has created. Whoever would get an idea of what a fine studio should look like let him visit Mr. Munger at the top of 1424 New York Avenue. An elevator leads to Mr. Munger's door where the latch-string is always out and where the artist himself is glad to shake hands with all art lovers, whether friends or strangers." [Kate Field's Washington, v.9, n.14, p.224]
1894 Nov 10 —
"FINE PAINTINGS SOLD - Bids Were Considered
Moderate - Famous Names, but Not Much Excitement - The Fashionable
Throng at the Johnson Estate auction Was large Yesterday.
… George A. Kohn bought Guiseppi Signorini's Elegant Leisure for $115 and Gilbert Munger's marine view for $80. Signorni is a famous name in Spain and Munger is an American artist of much distinction. …" [AH - San Francisco Chronicle, p.14 c.1]
1895 summer —
Gilbert Munger meets the young Harold Bell Wright at the home
of the Hon. William J. White in Cleveland, Ohio.
Here is a first person narrative by Wright excerpted from his book To My Sons —
I was awakened in a most unexpected manner to what those two prep-years at Hiram [College, a prep school near Cleveland] had done to me.
I had formed a deep friendship with one of my fellow students. It was one of those young-men friendships which sometimes spring from mutual liking with a reckless disregard for anything else. He was the son of a Cleveland multimillionaire, and it would seen that the son of such really great wealth and the son of such extreme poverty could have little in common. But we had so much in common that we mutually defied the immeasurable difference in our circumstances and stations. I shall not tell you his name, but in my novel "When a Man's a Man" he is "The Honorable Patches." (The Cleveland millionaire was the Hon. William J. White. Wright was at Hiram in 1894-5, a year that White's son Harry Walter attended.)
My friend invited me to spend the Christmas holidays at his home. … Of course I have never seen anything like that home. I was stunned. It was equipped with every luxury that wealth could command. There was a farm of thoroughbred racers, a stable of pedigreed carriage and saddle horses, and the fastest yacht on the Great Lakes. There were paintings and art treasures assembled from every land. (These details match White's situation perfectly, thus strengthening the identification.)
When summer came I foolishly accepted financial help from my friend, in order that I might devote my time to writing. … Then my friend insisted that I join a house party at his home.
And then it was, in that environment of wealth and luxury where I had no business to be, that I met the man who crystallized into definite purpose all that my experience in the evangelist's tent meeting and all my Hiram College contacts had given me.
He was an artist, a landscape painter of Royal Academy rank. An American, he had spent most of his life abroad and had been decorated by several foreign powers. He was in the country for a brief visit, and by that strange chance which always seemed to take a hand in my affairs at critical times he too was a guest in my friend's home. Because an artist must always be at his work, he spent a part of each day in a temporary studio.
A confirmed bachelor, old enough to have been my father, distinguished in a world which in every respect was foreign to my poor little world, this man for some reason became my most patient, understanding, and inspiring friend. I spent hours with him in his studio while he made magic with brushes and colors. I never dared to tell him that I had ever attempted trifling sketches. As silent and as spellbound as, when a child, I had watched my first artist friend, I would sit and watch him at his work. The only difference was that now I smoked.
Those experiences with that artist-farmer friend of my boyhood came back to me with amazing force. The gate into his world of beautiful living was again opened wide and I was invited to enter freely. Vividly I lived again my companionship with my mother. Under the spell of my association with this new artist friend, all that she taught me to see and feel was renewed a hundredfold. All that I had experienced since my mother's death only served to intensify my reaction to the things this great artist soul set before me. Once he told me, with one of his rare shy smiles, that he liked to have me there because he could paint better when I was with him. What an amazing thing for a distinguished artist to say to an illiterate, poverty-stricken youth. Can you imagine what it did to me?
Often he would talk to me of art — not the silly jargon of those who vainly strive, by technical parrot words of which they themselves know not the meaning, to be thought artists, but the simple understandable phrases of one who could speak with authority and was concerned only to make his meaning clear. Nor did he, in these talks, speak only of painting. He talked of art as a whole of its meaning and its relation to life. Sometimes he would take me to look at pictures painted by other artists and would help me to see them with understanding appreciation. Sometimes we lunched together in some little out-of-the-way corner of the city; and while we ate the plain and simple fare, he fed my soul with the things I was so hungry to hear: bits of observation and experience from his own life while he was struggling for recognition and after he had won to his distinguished position; bits of his own personal philosophy and understanding of life.
He encouraged me to read to him some of the things I had written. and in a simple matter-of-fact way that made me feel his sincerity he would say: "You'll do it some day, lad. Keep hammering away. Someday it will come." And then all the fire of him which was commonly hidden beneath his placid exterior would burst forth and he would command me sternly: "And when your time comes, hit them hard! Hit them with all your might."
I wish I could visualize those forces for you as I now see them. The life swirling about that house of material riches (yachting parties, the races, theater parties, dinners) every luxury, extravagance, and pleasure that money could buy. The life revealed to me by the old artist as he told me of his early years of hardship and work and privation, as he talked to me of art and its meaning and place in the spiritual development of Man, as he awoke to fresh vividness the memories of my childhood, of mother, and of my first artist friend; the realities of truth and beauty which he led me to feel and accept; the nobility of serving in any capacity the spiritual needs of men; the baseness of accepting every material service with never a thought of making adequate return. The gay extravagance of the house party, the perpetual search for pleasure in the gratification of every whim. The grinding toil of his years of effort to realize for a few fellow beings a little of that saving beauty which is for all who will have it.
Between the artist and the house party, as you may imagine, I was in a miserable state of mind. I became morose, sullen, sitting in scowling silence amid the gayety, withdrawn into my disagreeable shell. I wonder those dear friends and their guests did not vote unanimously to drown me in the lake, and carry out their just decision. …
Toward the last the old artist offered to take me abroad with him, and assured me of work enough to support me while I went on learning to write. But I think he was glad to have me say that I was not ready yet, that I must go to work right here at home. He laughed and there was a little note in his laughter which made me understand that I had made the correct answer. "All right, lad," he said. "What does it matter where one works? But I shall hear of you. I know that I shall hear of you."
When I called at the studio to bid my artist friend good-bye, the old man, wiser than my school chum, did not offer me money. He did better. He put aside his work in spite of my protest and walked to the station with me. He even went on board the train and saw me to my seat. Slipping a handful of cigars into my coat pocket, he said smilingly: "As you smoke them, think of me." Then he gripped my hand. "I shall hear of you , lad. I know I shall hear of you."
He turned quickly and hurried from the car. as the train pulled out, he stood on the platform, waving good-bye. I never saw him again.
This artist who came, through so strange a combination of circumstances into my life at a time when I sorely need him, was Sir Gilbert Munger. And you, my first-born son, you now know why you are named Gilbert Munger Wright.
NOTE  Also see the next three entries for other accounts during this visit, and the White obituary notice in the entry for 1903 below.
1895 Aug 2 — Gilbert Munger is attending the horse races: … Hon. W. J. White, (accompanied by) Mr. Gilbert Munger, one of the best American artists, of Washington;" [The Cleveland Plain Dealer]
1895 Aug 21 —
"HE HAS FAME - An American Artist Who Has Become a Distinguished -
Chat With Mr. Gilbert Munger.
Among the many distinguished guests who have been entertained in this city during the present summer none is more distinguished than Mr. Gilbert Munger, the famous American artist, who is the guest of the Hon. W. J. White. Although for many years he has made his home abroad, yet Mr. Munger is still an American and he is an American of whose phenomenal success all Americans are proud.
Mr. Mungeris the recognized leader of the Barbizon school and is the only one living of those who have made that school of art famous. From boyhood he has painted and he has achieved the success which has marked his career through his natural ability as an artist, as he never received any instruction. When a small boy he took his box of colors out in the yard and began to paint. From that beginning he has kept it up to the present time. He located in New York and while there gained for himself a national reputation. He then went to London where he remained for ten years. His pictures found ready markets throughout the British Isles and they are found in all the cities of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. From London he went to Paris, which he found much better suited to his work by reason of the absence of fogs and the greater natural beauty of the forests, which it is his delight to picture. He has remained in Paris for the last eight years, but is in this country to visit old friends and recuperate. It is impossible for him to remain inactive, and he has painted a great deal while in this country.
His paintings have found ready sale and his pictures are virtually sold before they are painted. For the past few years he has painted for the dealers and by his contract with them has been prevented from exhibiting his work. Before going abroad he received a commission from the Emperor of Germany to paint the Falls of Niagara and that is probably his largest work. Since he has gone abroad he has received commissions from nearly all the countries of Europe to furnish them pictures. His labors have been rewarded by a number of decorations. From Italy he has received two decorations, from Venezuela two, and one each from Russia, Germany, Belgium, Coburg, and France. Mr. Munger wears a small button which gives the colors of six of his decorations, but has not had the other three colors placed in it. He was also knighted by the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg.
His specialty in painting is the forests of France. The wood of these trees is of a lighter hue than is the bark of the American trees and it furnishes a better field for painting. He always paints from the scene itself and takes his canvas out at the same hour of the day in order to secure the same light. In speaking of his work last evening, Mr. Munger said: "The forests of France differ from those of America and the bark of the trees is of a lighter hue. The American bark is dark. The autumn colors of France are not the brilliant hues of the American forest, but are of a duller shade of red. The only way to get the lines of the bark and other natural features if the trees is to go in the forest and paint from life. I select my spot and them make a pencil sketch in order to see if it will make a picture. If I find it will I take my canvas into the woods and paint from nature itself. I have done some painting while I have been in this country and have had a room placed at my disposal in The Arcade, where I may work. I have a number of my pictures with me, but will not hold any exhibition. They will be exhibited to a few of my friends, but I will hold no public exhibition."
The decorations which Mr. Munger has been honored with are those which cannot be secured through influence and which are awarded on merit only. They grant to the wearer many privileges and admit him to all court functions. The number of artists who have been thus honored is few.
While Mr. Munger makes a specialty of forest and landscape pictures he paints as a relaxation Venetian pictures. One of these is owned by Mrs. White. Outside of these relaxations his efforts are confined to the forest and landscape views. Mr. Munger will remain in the city for some little time and will not return to Paris until next year." [Cleveland Plain Dealer, p 8.]
1895 Nov 24 —
"WORKS OF ART
Hon. W. J. White Brings Them From Europe
SOME OF THE PAINTINGS
A Brief Description of Some of the Masterpieces
A Wonderful Accession to the Artistic Treasures of Cleveland. Greater Cleveland in Art as well as greater Cleveland in public buildings, improvements, and population, is a watch word of this city's loyal citizens. A well-know Cleveland man and art lover has recently brought to this city a rare collection of paintings by European and American masters, the presence of which in Cleveland cannot fail to heighten the appreciation of its people for excellence in art. Hon. W. J. White returned from Europe with his wife and daughter three weeks ago, and the wealth and variety of the masterpieces in oil which he brought with him make his
VISIT TO THE OLD COUNTRY
of special importance to the city. Among the collection of canvases are one or two which are of such merit that although Mr. White has been in the city only a few weeks, already a number of art connoisseurs from New York and from the old country have followed him and are in Cleveland endeavoring to induce him to part with his treasures. In addition to these men who have already presented themselves to the fortunate possessor of the paintings, and have made him direct offers, it is rumored that an agent of the Powers Art Gallery of Rochester NY and a staff artist from the Harper's Weekly are in the city and will make their business known to Mr White — the former to purchase and the latter to copy on or two of the paintings.
At present the latest additions to Mr. White's already fine collection of paintings are, most of them, standing in unarranged profusion in the owner's private study. Many of them are unframed, and appear in unadorned beauty. Some of them, however, are already hung in the luxurious drawing room and parlors of Mr. White's home on Lake Avenue. These with the older pictures, many of which were seen at the Loan Exhibition last winter, make the house a veritable art gallery.
While seeking the best of foreign art, Mr. White has not failed to discover excellence in the works of American artists, He is proud of his success in obtaining a group of pictures representative of American talent. The work of Ridgeway, Knight, Henry Mosler, Gilbert Munger, and L. W. Hawkins, is seen in Mr White's purchases." [Cleveland Leader, p.2]
NOTE  A typed, unsigned sheet attached to the back of painting #307 says that it was in White's art collection:
He then went to America where he did a great many portraits of prominent people, among which were those of the White family in Cleveland. This painting (#307) comes from the heirs of the White collection, having been purchased by Mr. White directly from the artist about 1896.
Mrs. B. P. Avery donated "a collection of thirty-four Paintings and
Engravings by Early California Artists and others; collected by her late husband
Benjamin P. Avery, one of the founders of the San Francisco Art Association
to be hereafter known as 'The Avery Collection.' It included paintings by … T. Hill,
R. G. Holdredge, W. Keith, J. R. Key, G. Munger, C, Nahl, T. Rosenthal, P. Toft, and
J. B. Wandesforde." [Barbara Lekisch, Embracing Scenes About Lakes Tahoe and
Donner: Painters, Illustrators, & Sketch Artists, 1855-1915, Great West Books,
July 15, 2003, p.ix ]
NOTE  The Fine Arts Registrar at the California Historical Society, San Francisco, says: "The SF Art Association, founded 1871, added the California School of Design in 1874. By the mid-1890s it moved into the Mark Hopkins mansion and added the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, which housed both the CSD campus and the SFAA’s art collection. The 1906 EQ destroyed that whole area and then some." The Hopkins Institute report to University of California for the period 1 July 1904 to 1 July 1906 says that some paintings were saved when the Hopkins Manson burned. The section 'Rescue of Paintings and Statuary' describes the heroic efforts made. The Catalog of the Mark Hopkins Institute Art of Art, published by the SFAA in 1900, lists the entire Avery Colletion, including "42. Wahsatch Mountains, Signed Gilbert Munger; Dated 1879."The date is probably wrong, as Avery died in 1875 and Munger was in England in 1879. The correct date is likely 1870 and was misread from the painting.
1896 Apr 12 —
"Money Drawer Robbed by Elevator Boy
Clarence Ruckles, twenty-one years of age, employed as an elevator boy in the Evans' building, 1424 New York avenue, was before Judge Miller in Police Court yesterday to answer the charge of breaking into the office of Artist Gilbert Munger, prying the money drawer open, and taking $30 therefrom. He pleaded not guilty, but the testimony of Detectives Boyd and Helan, who arrested him, was sufficient in the mind of the court to prove the defendant guilty. The detective swore that Ruckles confessed the crime to them Tuesday night, when they placed him under arrest, and he gave up $5 of the stolen money. The court fined him $25, and ordered the restitution of the balance of the money which he stole, or ninety days in jail. Ruckles paid the fine." [The Washington Post, p.3]
1896 Jul 22 —
"ITS GRANDEUR —
Americans Do Not Appreciate Niagara —
Foreigners go into raptures over it, while Americans are prone to give it a passing
The tide is turning in its favor
Gilbert Munger, the famous artist, whom America is proud to claim as her own, yet who has lived so many years abroad he sees with European eyes as well as American, says with his mind's eye he sees the time when up and down the beautiful roads that lead here and there, from a place that is superb through that which is beauteous and on to what is grand, will be lines of sumptuous villa, owned and occupied as magnificent possessions almost without price.
And yet Americans content themselves with a day or a week. They stop over a train on their way to Europe and think they have seen it all. The old Emperor William of Germany, grandfather of the present sovereign, heard much of the Falls from his traveled subjects and had a great desire to see them, but, more hampered than they in his actions, was obliged to forgo the pleasure and view them by proxy only. To this end he sent an agent to this country to obtain a painting of them, and this painting haply was commissioned to the since celebrated Munger. He came to the Falls and studied them for weeks, from above, from below, from all sides, and made his picture. That was the beginning of his great fame. The Emperor William decorated him. He bestowed on him the grand cross for science and art. It was a great honor to get one of these decorations, and particularly for an American. Mr. Munger has many, representing eight foreign countries, and all of them were given in recognition of his art. One was from the old Duke of Saxe Coburg-Gothe, that great European diplomat who was such a staunch friend of the old Emperor, and also Bismark, and did so much to unite the great statesman and the present ruler. The red cross of Russia was bestowed upon him by the late Czar. The King of Belgium honored him with a medal, and the National Fine Arts Society of Italy and the Duke of D'Aosta, brother of King Humbert of Italy gave him other decorations. Two came from Venezuela. One is the officers' cross of the Order of Bolivar and the other the commanders' cross of the same order. Still another medal is from the Art and Literature Society founded by Victor Hugo.
The foreign governments are considerate as well as appreciative. When they give a medal, the give two. One is large. It is the medal. The other is small, the pendant seldom larger than a 10-cent piece. The large ones are to be displayed at ceremonies of state. The latter are for less formal occasions. Mr. Munger has his attached to a short gold chain and, worn on his coat, give an air of distinction without ostentation. He is justly proud of the medals, and America can be proud for him. Mr. Munger's paintings are not popularly known. They are mostly owned by collectors and foreign art museums. It was after he painted the picture for the German Kaiser that he went to Europe. He stayed 18 years, and then he came back to America and intends to remain here, at least for the winter and possibly for all time. He has come to Niagara as an old friend, and he says it has changed not. It is as grand as when he went away. He sits on the verandas of the Clifton House, where he is staying, and wanders about the grounds, ever finding new beauties in this great work of Nature.
…" [The Buffalo (NY) Express]
1897 Nov 10 — "SOCIETY'S APPROVAL — It is Given to the Horse Show — The Four Hundred Turn Out in Handsome Attire — … On the south side, the W. J. White family and their guests occupied three boxes. Those present were Hon. and Mrs. W. J. White, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. White, Mr. Gilbert Munger of New York, …" [The Cleveland Plain Dealer, p.3]
1897 sometime — Munger moves from Washington to The Valencia,150 West 59th St, New York. [Monroe-3 See also the entry below for 1904 June 6.]
1898 summer — Munger paintings at the Summer Exhibition of the Hanover Gallery, London: No. 40: Near Nemours [may be painting #330]; No. 43: On the Seine [may be painting #135 or #289] . [The Exhibition Catalog, found in the National Art Library, London]
1898 Sep 1 —
"An Artist Dead, Mackinac Island, Aug. 27. - Albert A. Munger, a painter of
Chicago and a millionaire, died here today. Mr. Munger was a
liberal patron of art and one of the leading connoisseurs of painting in America."
[The Butte (MT) Weekly Miner, p.14, c.4]
NOTE  This is another painter of the period named Munger that can cause confusion! When he died his importat collecion of paintings, mainly European artists, was given to the Art Institute of Chicago. So far I can find no paintings by him.
1899 Apr 15 —
"THE PICTURE SALE CONCLUDED -
Good Prices Again for the Barbizon and Low Ones for the English and Dutch Pictures -
Lessons of the Sale.
The second and concluding night's sale of the Harris-Holbrook-Blakeskee pictures at Chickering Hall last evening resulted in a total of $105,390 for eighty canvases. This added to the Thursday night's total of $68,125 for the eighty pictures then sold, makes a total of $173,515 for 160 paintings. This sum is just below the estimate made by good judges of the picture business before the sale began and the expectation that last night's sale would pull up the low total of Thursday's sale was not realized. Again, as on Thursday night, the early English, Flemish, and Dutch pictures sold, as a rule, very poorly, and had it not been for the good prices paid by the dealers who were present in force for the Barbizon pictures, the result of the sale would have been even less successful.
Save for the positive published and verbal assurance of the auctioneers and owners, it might be assumed that some of the more important canvases, other than the Barbizon paintings, were bought in. …"
The article concludes with a complete list of the 160 paintings sold and the sale prices for each. The highest price paid was $$7,800 for Diaz's Diana and Her Nymphs, sold to J. Oehme. Included in the list is: "Gilbert Munger.[49 ] A Late Summer Day … $150" [New York Times, p.2 c.2]
NOTE  Another article announcing this auction shows that there were two Munger paintings in the auction: A Sultry Day, 20 x 30, $200; in addition to A Late Summer Day, 32 x 26, $150.
1899 Sep 14 —
"HIS MIND SHATTERED - RUSSELL C. MUNGER ARRAIGNED IN THE PROBATE COURT AS INSANE
- PIONEER MUSIC MERCHANT
He Is Brought Into Court for Commitment to the State Hospital, but the Case Is Continued to Await the Arrival of His Brothers
Mind Has Been Breaking Down for Months.
Russell C. Munger, sixty years old, and one of the pioneer residents of St.Paul, appeared in probate court yesterday for examination on an information of insanity. The case was passed on the calendar for three days in order to give R. S. Munger, of Duluth, and Gilbert Munger, of New York, brothers, an opportunity to be present at the examination. It appeared that Mr. Munger is suffering from paresis and his appearance and strange behavior during the past few weeks led to the filing of the information. He formerly conducted an extensive business in the sale of musical instruments and supplies. Business reverses overtook him and several years ago he was forced into insolvency. He has always been prominent in public enterprises and had an extensive acquaintance all over the state. The examining physicians are Drs. Wheaton and Paxton." [Saint Paul Globe (Minnesota), p.9]
1900 Sep 13 —
"Mr Gilbert Munger of New York city is the guest of Dwight
Williams. He will remain with him for a month."
[Cazenovia Republician (NY), p.5 c.2]
NOTE  Dwight Williams was a well-know regional artist living in Cazenovia New York. The 1903 Feb 12 article below says that Munger stayed for two months: September and October.
Period 10: Health problems - Washington D.C.
1901 Jan 23/24 — The Thomas Kirkpatrick sale of 138 paintings at the America Art Galleries included the Gilbert Munger painting "129. Forest of Fontainbleau (18x22) $250." [American Art Annual 1903-1904, v.IV, p.17]
1901 Feb — Munger moves to Washington D.C. for the milder climate. [Sweeney, p.65]
1901 Mar 2 — "Mr. Gilbert Munger will hold an exhibition of paintings at the Veerhoff gallery shortly. Mr. Munger has been abroad for a number of years, during which time he has received several decorations from foreign powers. He was formerly a resident of this city, where his work is well known." [ (Washington D.C.) Evening Star, p.26]
1901 Mar 16 — "Sixteen or more pictures by Mr. Gilbert Munger, a landscape painter of considerable distinction, are on exhibition in the Veerhoff Gallery. They are of an old-fashioned type, done in oils with much force, but harshness, after the style of the early American painters. In many of them the curious method of representing foliage by painting each leaf on the tree is employed, whereas in others the handling is broad and almost careless. Material is oppressively evident and atmosphere wanting in the large canvases, but in the smaller this peculiarity is less marked, and one or two that are really tiny are gentle and artistic to a delightful degree." [(Washington D.C.) Evening Star, p.25]
1902 Jan 14 — Letter from Munger to friend James Cresap Sprigg:
GEO A MILLS&SON.
Jan. 14, 1902
Dear Mr. Sprigg .
Your kind letter Enclosing the Sock Certificate reached me quite safely this morning. I am temporarily located at 1420 - 4th floor 3 rooms and a bath room under Paris' former Studio. it was the best I could find in my haste to get to work. Young Evans is with his brother up in N.Y. State. The "Grippe" has got him, I understand. I have seen young Whitten two or three times. I know no one in the building - and do not want to. So am left severely alone to do my work. The Elevator boy and nigger porter seem to run the property.
Just before Christmas I received notice from my picture dealer that he would open in Chicago with my collection soon after Christmas, and de-sired me to come on. and expect to go when he writes me. He predicts a great success with my work.
It is gratifying to know that the Picture is daily improving, and that you are pleased with it. by the way it is the fad now days to have no more than 4 to 6 pictures on the walls in one room, and all large, instead of little dabs of pictures all over the place. The effect is certainly very fine. in most of the apartment buildings in New York the ceilings are too low for the proper display of pictures. Should you de-sire to Exchange the picture I will do so at any time, but - the probabilities are you will not always remain where you are.
Enclosed in another envelope you will find my printed list of decorations and the receipt for the stock.
With kindest regards to yourself + wife I remain
1420 New York Ave
1902 Jan 19 — Letter from Munger to friend James Cresap Sprigg:
1420 New York A.
Washington Jan 19.
Dear Mr. Sprigg,
There is not a living in this country for a good landscape painter. I propose to abandon it and paint portraits. There is no longer any encouragement to work from 16 to 18 hours a day, at a loss. A doctor has warned me that, if I continue it will result in brain trouble and paralysis. I am
(The following line appears vertically along left margin of 1st page)
I would not go to any more expense in the gallery it is all right as it is of present
at the moment, and have been for several months suffering intensely. and at times it is with great difficulty I can walk to the street without falling. When last in Cleveland, I made $5000.00 in clear profit in 5 months painting portraits and refused several other orders - on the other hand Eleven of my smallest pictures 11 x 17 have recently been sold in London for $400.00 each. Since my return from New York, I have sold one of my little foreign pictures for $675.00 and have offers on more of them. The little picture is only 7 x 10 inches.
The New York dealer now at Veerhoffs has returned from New York bringing with him 25 or 30 more pictures. he sold a number of the first lot. he is the cleverest dealer I have ever met. he sells pictures to the Corcoran Gallery, the Boston Museum and many of the most prominent men in the country. sells on commission, writes his own art criticisms for the papers. carries a collection of Biographies of all the painters living + dead, prices of their work etc. pays all expense and only charges 10 per cent on sales - has been in the business 35 years.
If your friend will offer $4500.00 from my pictures I will consider it. I should then lose about $1000.00 if not I must come on again to New York which means more expense and loss of time, and talk it over with you.
I can sell the foreign pictures to greater advantage here, a friend wants them.
NOTE  This letter mentions painting portraits in Cleveland. The entry for 1895 summer suggests the possibility that this portrait painting occurred while Munger was visiting the William J. White household that summer. There is also indication of a 1897 visit to Cleveland in the entry for 10 November 1897. We haven't discovered any commercial portraits by Munger, but #263 is a portrait he made as a gift to the White family.
1902 Jan 22 — Letter from Munger to friend James Cresap Sprigg:
1420 New York Avenue
Jan 22nd 1902
Dear Mr. Sprigg.
In this letter I must depart from my usual cus- tom of keeping all of my plans and movements an absolute secret from everyone. I have already spent over seven years in this country Seven long years gone out of my life, and all of these years I have been trying to get back to Europe where I should have re- mained, had it not been for the well meaning but unfortunate advise of a friend. at one time I could have returned with several thousand dollars with which I could re es- tablish myself in London. A friend induced me to put this money in underground trolley. Wheeler assured me that he looked upon me as one of his own family and if he failed in his Enterprise would return to me every dollar I invested with him. I must leave Washington and live New York. he would bring JP Morgan, Yerkes and the richest men in New York to my Studio he would make my Studio the resort of all the richest people, would sell all of my pictures for me, & make me known all over the country. consequently I gave up Washington where I was doing well and took an apartment in the Newark flats. during the whole of the two years there he brought one man who was not a picture buyer. at the end of two years I gave up the apartment and commenced to pack for Europe. more advice from a friend, a lady this time. I must not think of going back. she was one of the 4 hundred, she had never seen such pictures, I must take a studio near the Waldorf, she would bring the 4 hundred and many out of Town millionaires. I believed all this, followed her directions, and then never saw her again, result, three thousand dollars out of pocket. again I resolved to go to Europe with no money and trust to luck, had packed + stored half of my pictures in the Lincoln, and was busy packing the rest, so that they could be sent on to me. (more pages ?)
1902 Jan 24 — Letter from James T. Gardner, 14 Church Street, New York to S.F. Emmons, Esq., 1721 "H" Street, N.W., Washington D.C. regarding Clarence King's estate and arrangements for supporting King's widowed mother, Mrs. Howland:
You are perfectly right about not applying to Congress for anything for Mrs. Howland. It would be unsuccessful and would be particularly distasteful to us all.
I have no doubt that when I get the power to deal with the bric-a-brac pictures etc., they can be sold for such a sum that the interest of it will keep Mrs. Howland comfortable for the rest of her life if she lives with Marian.
The three Turner water-colors alone must be worth $20,000. From Mr. Laffen of the 'Sun' who was with King at the time he purchased, I got the price he paid for one of them which was considered a bargain at the time, twenty years ago. Meantime Turner water-colors have risen steadily in value.
Will you kindly ask Munger whether he knows the address of the place where King had his pictures stored in London during the last four or five years and whether he knows how many pictures he had stored? If Munger traded the unfinished 'Millais' with King for one of his pictures, I suppose Munger has the picture of his own that the trade was made for. Does Munger want to hold the Estate to the trade or does he want to give the Estate the 'Millais' picture which is salable and will bring something for Mrs. Howland while his picture is, of course, of little market value? If Munger would be willing to give the 'Millais' to Mrs. Howland direct, the Estate would release any claim on his picture and you might possibly sell the 'Millais' to the Corcoran Art Gallery for a good price.
1902 Apr 1-2 — The F. O. Matthiessen (Estate) Sale of 143 paintings at Mendelssohn Hall (New York) included the Gilbert Munger painting "53. Landscape, Near Franchard (28.5x36) E. Arlington $350." [American Art Annual 1903-1904, v. IV, p.35]
1902 Aug 26 — Letter from Munger to friend James Cresap Sprigg:
1420 New York Av.
Aug. 26, 1902
Dear Friend Sprigg
It is not neglect or a lack of interest in your success that has caused me to be so long silent. I did not wish to distress you in regard to my own condition.
I have not been well since I came to this city 18 months ago. Five months ago I was taken in the region of the solar plexus, with the most agonizing pains. after enduring it for 3 weeks I went to a doctor who told me that I had Neuralgia of the Nerves, and he treated me for it with no result. I then tried Electricity for more than a month, no results, except to make me much worse. Third Doctor told me I had inflimation of the stomach and not Nueralgia of the nerves, he treated me - no result. I gave up medical treatment and tried to cure it myself, and began to improve, but the intense pain continued. at last - I discovered a Doctor who understood my complaint and I am in his hands, with prospects of recovery to better health than I have had for some years. From the previous mal-treatment by the 3 Doctors I was thought to the Verge of Cancer in the Stomach which in 4 or 5 months would have been abso- lutely incurable.
As soon as I am able I propose to return to New York to live. I am heartily tired of this stupid nigger Village. I have not been able to work a day in the past 5 months, on account of my in- tense suffering and loss of sleep.
I look forward with unspeakable joy to a return to New York and to Astor Court, to meeting you and your estimable wife once more, and to enter again in an active and busy life. My expenses here are very heavy, and I am nearly stranded.
Kindest regards -
Ever yours, Gilbert Munger
1902 — The Washington D.C. City Directory lists Munger at 1420 New York Avenue with occupation as artist. [GS]
1902 — The Catalog of the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, published by the San Francisco Art Association, lists "39. GILBERT MUNGER, Wahsatch Mountains; Signed; Dated 1879."
1903 Jan 22 —
"IS DYING. Gilbert Munger, Brother of R.S. Munger at Death's Door.
Gilbert Munger, distinguished artist, who is well known in Duluth,
is dying. Word was received here this afternoon by his brother Roger S. Munger,
of this city, that his brother was at the point of death at the capital.
Mr. Munger and his daughter, Mrs. W.B. Silvey, left this afternoon on the 5 o'clock
train for Chicago and will proceed from there tomorrow to Washington.
Gilbert Munger has resided in Washington for several years and has been one of a group of artists and painters who colonized the capital. His works are known the country over. He has been in Duluth many times, but not much recent years, and is remembered by older citizens here." [Duluth Evening Hearld]
Period 11: Aftermath
1903 Jan 27 — "Munger dies at 5:30 pm." [GS - Emmons] This line was added later than the rest of the entry on this diary page; see item at 1903 Jan 29. "Week's Death Record in District: Munger - January 27, at 1420 New York Avenue northwest, Gilbert M.(?) Munger, sixty-six years old." [MM - The Washington Times, 8 Feb 1903, p.18 c.4] "He breathed his last almost at the moment when he had put the finishing touches to his great canvas, Niagara Falls, showing both the American and Canadian views." [Memoir, p.21]
1903 Feb 6 —
"FAMOUS ARTIST IS BURIED HERE - Remains of Brother of R. S.
Munger Brought From Washington. Gilbert Munger, the famous artist, whose death occurred in
Washington, was buried in Duluth yesterday afternoon. The body arrived at noon over the Omaha train
and at three o'clock a brief service was held at Stewart's undertaking rooms, Rev. Dr. S. P. Long
officiating. Only relatives were present. The body was placed in a vault in Forest Hill cemetery.
Brother in Duluth
Mr. Munger was a brother of R. S. Munger. of this city, who went to his bedside about ten days ago. Although he had been in ill health for several years, fatal symptoms did not develop until a few days before his death, which occurred Jan. 27, the day following the arrival of the brother from Duluth. Acute indigestion was the malady.
Mr. Munger was sixty-five years of age and enjoyed a wide reputation on two continents as an artist, his most noteworthy work being in landscape. He was the possessor of several medals, some of which were won at world's fairs and others for salon and academy exhibits. He won medals at the Centennial in Philadelphia, at the world's fairs in Chicago and Paris and at the Pan-American exposition. A number of his pictures are used as models in the Chicago Art Institute, and he is also represented in the Field Museum, Chicago.
Went Abroad to Study
Mr. Munger at an early age became employed in the bureau of printing and engraving in Washington. He took up the work of engraving and then went abroad to study art. particularly painting. Landscape work became his forte and in London and Paris, where he lived alternately most of his life, his work was in great demand. About ten years ago he returned to the United States and has since lived in New York city and Washington.
Mr. Munger a number of years ago made long visits to Duluth, spending much time with his brother here, and making many friends. He had no family." [Duluth News Tribune]
NOTE  Marie Kroeger of the Art Institute of Chicago Archives writes in June 2005: "We have your book on Gilbert Munger in the library, but I can find no record that the Art Institute ever exhibited his works or owns any of his works. I am told that in the early days of the School of the Art Institute, there were art works which were used by the students in their education program, which were not part of the museum collection. Perhaps some of his works were in that collection. Sorry we could find nothing specific."
1903 Feb 8 —
"WAS AN ARTIST OF MUCH RENOWN - The Late Gilbert
Munger's Works Were Classed With Corot's - Was Decorated By Half a Score
of European Monarchs.
Gilbert Munger, whose body was buried at Forest Hill cemetery Thursday, was better known in artistic circles on the European continent than in the United States. He had been decorated by half a score of European monarchs and had been knighted by several, all in honor of his abilities as a painter. For many years his pictures 'hung on the line' in the Royal Academy and he was an honored exhibitor in the same preferred position in the French salon and in many other art exhibitions of continental Europe.
Mr. Munger was a younger brother of Roger S. Munger, of this city. When a child he studied art as best he could, and when but fourteen he was a master engraver in the employee of the government, working on the illustrations of elaborate reports, and in the works of Professor Agassiz and of the Smithsonian. When the war broke out he enlisted and retired at its close a major of engineers. After the was he spent a number of years among the Rockies and Cascade mountains, working at his profession, accompanied by the famous Clarence King, between whom and Munger there was a close friendship. During this period he did much work that is still on exhibition in famous galleries of England.
He went abroad to live in 1877, and spent a number of years in England. painting in company with J. E. Millais and other noted artists of the day. There he met with the utmost success, though never much of a public exhibitor, never at all, in fact, in any but purely art exhibitions of the highest class and in no world's fairs.
After some years' residence in England Mr. Munger went to Paris and for a long time resided in that artist's paradise., the forest of Fontainebleau, made forever famous by the works of Corot and the Barbizon school. So closely did Mr. Munger's work approach the best of that of Corot and his associates, that they have often been compared, and not always to the disadvantage of the American. He has been likened, in technique and expression, to Corot and Rosseau, with a suggestion of Constable or P. Nasmyth.
Private galleries in the country contain a number of examples of his work. There are pictures of his in the Hill and Walker collections at St. Paul and Minneapolis, with others in Chicago and many in the east. Five or six of his finished pictures are owned in Duluth, all but one of them landscapes, including Fontainebleau and the falls of Minnehaha, and a gorgeous Venice, unlike his usual style, which was quiet and reproved. He was painting steadily up to the time of his last illness, and there are several unfinished pictures still on his easels. He was a noted collector of rare pictures, books, and miniatures, and his selections were marked by an expert knowledge and the most delicate taste. His own pictures sold during his lifetime for high prices, often for as high as £100 each.
Mr. Munger left no relatives but his brother in Duluth and the latter's two daughters, Mrs. D. E. Woodbridge and Mrs. W. B. Silvey. The funeral services here on Thursday, which were conducted by Dr. Ryan, were attended by none but relatives and a few family connections. Most of Mr. Munger's own friends lived in the east, especially in Washington, where he died, and in New York." [Duluth Sunday News Tribune]
1903 Feb 12 —
"MR. GILBERT MUNGER.
The announcement of the death of Mr. Gilbert Munger, the distinguished artist, was a shock and surprise to his friends in Cazenovia. He died in his studio at 1420 New York Avenue, Washington D.C. on Tuesday afternoon, Feb 3rd, at 5 o’clock. His brother, of Duluth, was with him during his last hours. Thus passed away one of America’s greatest painters.
His early life was spent in New Haven, Conn. There is much that might be said and written upon this notable career. Prior to the war he was an engraver in the employ of the United States government. As a very young man he executed many fine plates of fishes and birds and rocks which are now in the Smithsonian Institute. At an early day he went upon a prominent government expedition into the far west. At the outbreak of the Civil war he was appointed to the engineer corps with rank of major and built many of the fortifications in and around Washington.
Under General Delafield he organized the bureau of lithography for map making and saved the government many thousands of dollars. They were used by the officers in the army in the Sherman Campaign. The government offered him a permanent position with a large salary as chief of the department. He felt that his duty to his country was done in this direction and immediately devoted his energies to foreign art study in France, where he lived ten years.
Here he saw the old masters, and painted the rivers of France and the forest of Fontainebleau with an occasional summer in Italy and Spain. In 1878 he returned to America to paint Niagara Falls and the Yosemite Valley for Lord Shackleford, after which he returned to Europe and lived in England for ten years.
He was an annual exhibitor to the Royal Academies of England and Italy. Many of his summers were passed in sketching tours on the Thames and in the highlands of Scotland in company with Sir John Millais.
Upon the invitation of Mr Ruskin be went to Venice and painted fifty pictures which were exhibited in London and produced a sensation and established his fame in England.
He was Knighted by the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg and decorated by nearly every country on the continent. Mr Munger's long residence in France influenced his art both in subject and style, and if any criticism appears it is that his work resembles French art and especially the Barbizon school which he admired and followed. Indeed he painted much in the old haunts of Corot and Rousseau.
His French subjects are different and his Venetian pictures have a distinctive character all their own. In 1893 he returned to this country again and lived in Washington. In 1896 he passed the year in Cleveland, O, and executed some important orders for Congressman W. J. White for his private gallery. From 1897 to 1900 he was in New York and had an elegant studio at the Valencia, 59th street and later at the Astor Court Building. In September 1900 he spent two months in Cazenovia with Mr Dwight Williams. He did some most excellent things here which are characteristic of our Central New York landscapes.
It is a difficult task to analyze this remarkable and talented man. He wrote well and Helen Terry acted one of his plays in London with great success He was strong in the organic principles of his art. A fine colorist. He possessed also a scientific knowledge of the chemistry of color.
His work was descriptive and instructive and always charmed. The result is that be has left to the world many beautiful and great picture which will probably find their way into some of our future National galleries.
It is gratifying and encouraging for America Art when one of its citizens procures the recognition which this gentleman received.
Mr Munger was possessed of a sensitive and poetic nature and was gentle and confidential as a child with his intimate friends. He will surely be missed by those who really knew and loved him." [The Republican (NY), p.4 c.2]
NOTE  This article largely repeats items from other sources. But it has the order and dates of events in Munger's life confused. For example, the Civil Was was before he ventured to the West on a government expedition, not after.
1903 Mar 8 —
"ART SALES FOR ESTATES
Old and Modern Pictures of Clarence
King, W. H. Fuller, T. G. Weil, Vic-
toria Newcomb, and 'John Doe' at
the American Art Galleries
Those who had thee privilege of knowing the late Clarence King will not be surprised that among the objects left in care of his executors are pieces of uncommon beauty; for though he never counted himself a collector he had an appreciation of art that is rare among men of science. Perhaps it was the long sojourns in England that made him take to watercolors; for there is the home of the art; at any rate, he left many watercolors, especially British ones, beginning with a delightful bit of the white cliffs of Albion by J. M. W. Turner, a small 7 by 9 inch drawing, very delicate in touch, with Turner's tremendous moving ocean in the foreground.
… At Mendelssohn Hall, along with the King pictures, the Claude Montes belonging to the late Mr. Fuller will also come to the hammer.
… Then there are the pictures left by Theodore G. Weil, by H. Victor Newcomb, and still others sold by order of a firm of lawyers for the benefit of 'John Doe,' or, as the Roman lawmen used to say, of 'Caius.' So we are to have the pick of no less than four collections of paintings, representing a very wide range of taste and including some extremely beautiful pieces.
A little figure by Winslow Homer turns up among the pictures John Doe is selling, a girl in red stockings and the dress of a farmer's daughter carrying a pail of water, with head slightly inclined to the right and body out of plumb, to indicate the weight on the straight right arm. Brilliant Autumn leaves on a shrub to the right give the key of color. It is dated 1874, and has Homer's direct, unvarnished style. There are three landscapes by David Johnson, N. A.: a ' Twilight, by George Inness, two Egyptian views by R. Swain Gifford, The Kissing Bridge, with two couples, by George H. Boughton; two canvases by the late Albert Bierstadt, a couple of landscapes by Gilbert Munger, and Mussel Gathers, by Charles Sprague Pearce. … There is something here for every taste, and the general average of work is decidedly high." [JM, New York Times, p.9]
1903 Mar 12 — Munger paintings are sold at a combined sale including items from the estate of Clarence King: 89. Lake in the Mountains, Humboldt Nev (14 x 20) to W. H. Young; 91. Landscape (28.5 x 36.5) to T. R. Ball; 92. Sunset (21 x 44) to F. Chapman. [American Art Annual 1900-3]
1903 May 2 —
"ART OF MINNESOTA - Works of the Late Gilbert Munger Are
Brought to North Star State - May Be Offered as Part of Minnesota Exhibit at
the St. Louis Exposition
Roger S. Munger of Duluth passed thru this city this week en route for home, after an absence of four months spent in Washington. His visit to the capital city was undertaken under distressing circumstances. Early in January he received a telegram stating that his brother, Gilbert Munger, was dying in his studio there. He was aware of the fact that his brother had been in ill health for a long time and immediately answered the summons, arriving in Washington three days before his brother's death.
[A photo of a bust of Gilbert Munger appears here in the article with the caption: 'BUST OF GILBERT Munger. Made at Nice, Italy, by M. Cattin.' Cummings (p.18, n.3) says the bust was done in 1891 by Massimiliano Contini of Nice, b. 1850.]
Gilbert Munger, who was 66 years old, is one of the few artists who Minnesota can claim as her own. In the family, which is of Connecticut origin, were four brothers, in all of whom the artistic temperament was highly developed. William, Roger S. and Russell developed this trait along musical lines, William, who died young, being a violinist of marked skill. These three came to Minnesota in 1859. Roger S. and Russell were music dealers in St. Paul for a great many years. It was in there store on Third street that their brother Gilbert established his studio in 1869 (sic) and there he painted more or less during the next two years. At that time the subjects he chose were interesting Minnesota scenes, notably the Red River Ox Trains, which brought fur down from the Canadian border and were sufficiently picturesque to attract the attention of anyone.
Minnehaha in those years was not the trickling stream that it has been recently. Mr. Munger put the beauties of the falls on canvas. He introduced into his pictures of Minnehaha, some real Indians, whom he found living at Mendota. The first large canvas of the falls that he finished was sold to Mr. Ralston, a San Francisco banker, and is now highly prized by his family. The two or three others that Mr. Munger painted at that time became part of the art collections of eastern people. Valuable paintings of Mississippi scenery were consumed in a fire, which destroyed Munger Bros. establishment some years later.
Mr. Munger's art education began in Washington D.C. where he was employed by Commodore Wilkes. At that time, sketch book in hand, he visited the environs of Washington and roamed over the hills of Georgetown, making sketches. It was his intention to become an expert steel engraver and during his early years we worked at that employment. Wider fields of art, however, tempted him, the result being that the art galleries of Europe and American have been enriched by specimens of his work. It is remarkable that altho he sold pictures at prices as high as $10,000 he never received an art lesson during the whole course of his life.
His first art work was done in the Rocky mountains, where he was connected with the first survey, ever organized by the government, under Clarence King. Encouraged by some Englishmen, whom he met there, he went to England and established himself on the Thames in a houseboat. The pastoral scenery of England appealed ably to his artistic temperament and there he spent several years. Subsequently he went to Paris, joining the American colony there, and until very recently made that his home.
He was an indefatigable worker and frequently spent the whole day and half a night at one sitting at his easel.
He traveled extensively in Europe and found a ready sale for all his pictures. One of these trips was made with Millais, who was his personal friend and together they painted the highlands of Scotland. He sold pictures in Germany, Russia, Italy, France, Belgium, South America, England, and the United States and was decorated by nine different rulers. At his death he left about thirty of his pictures, which were on exhibition in New York. His brother Roger, in whose possession they now are, is inclined to offer them for exhibition to the state of Minnesota to be sent to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition next year, as examples of Minnesota art. They are some of the finest, many of them the largest canvases which Gilbert Munger ever painted. They represent scenes in all parts of the world and are considered splendid examples of a part of the life work of one of the greatest painters America has had." [Minneapolis Journal, p.7]
1903 Jun 27 — Munger painting sold at London auction. The catalog title page shows:
Catalog of important modern pictures of the French and English Schools, the property of Alderman Sir Horatio D. Davies, K. C. M. G. M. P., who has given up his country residence, Wateringbury Place, Kent, also pictures the property of J. G. Menzies, Esq., and pictures and drawings the property of a gentleman and from numerous private collections and different sources: which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Saturday June 27, 1903 at one o'clock precisely.
On page 11 of the catalog in the section of Alderman Davies' properties appears: "G. Munger 59. Near Moret On panel 11½ in. by 17½ in." Handwritten notes on the facing page record that the painting sold for 29.8.- to Arthurton (or Artharton). [VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]
1903 Jul 18 —
Probate Court — Justice Anderson … Estate of Gilbert Munger: proof of publication. " [The Washington Post, p.14]
1903 Jul 29 — Letter from Thomas R. Ball (?) to Munger's friend James Cresap Sprigg:
WATER MILL GOLF CLUB
Mr. J.C. Sprigg Jr
I trust you will pardon my seeming tardiness + acknowledging your of July 22nd with enclosure of Mr. Munger's biography. Your letter followed me from the City to my Country house + I fully intended writing you before my return to NY. another week has flown bye + I am again at my Country house + find yours before me, with the other papers that escaped my attention last week.
I thank you for the sketch you sent + have passed the (illegible) to Mrs. Ball who has claimed the picture. She is very fond of it. in fact it has the place of honor in her own room - over her writing desk - Will you favor me with your company at the Manhattan Club Madison Ave & 26th St at 7 PM on Tuesday next, where we can discuss Art, Mr. Munger & kindred subjects & see what can be done to keep ourselves in proper condition to enjoy these pleasures. A wire to my NY address, as below will reach me on Monday or later.
Thomas R. Ball
1903 Aug 11 — Letter from George H. Sharp, Metropolitan Museum of Art, to Munger's friend James Cresap Sprigg:
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
NEW YORK Aug 11 (hole in paper)
Dear Mr. Sprigg
Your note and the photograph of Gilbert Munger are at hand. I have been at the beach or I would have acknowledged both before now. Although I have not seen Mr. Munger since I w (hole in paper) but I should have recognized him I am sure had I chanced to meet him. the photo carriers (hole in paper) your description (hole in paper) once I thank you for (hole in paper). There is no hurry about sending the pictures to the Museum as the Committee on acceptance of gifts will not meet until October. I should be pleased to learn the result of your visit to Washington in the meantime believe me.
Geo. H. Sharp
1903 Oct 3 —
The Competitive Exhibition of American Art
The announcement, made last June, that a competitive exhibition of the works of American artists would be held here on October 5, has brought out 355 pictures, some of them by artists of national reputation.
From these, the judges, Miss Emily Sartain, Mr. Henry Thouron and Mr. Leslie W. Miller, who consented to act in that capacity in the belief that the exhibition would be a substantial benefit to American artists, selected 151, maintaining a standard at least equal to that set by the public galleries of our largest cities.
The exhibition will be opened on Monday next in the Colonial Hall, on the third floor, and the names of the prize winners in the four classes — oil paintings, water colors, pastels and pen and ink sketches — will be announced in next Monday morning’s papers.
Among the prominent exhibitors are … Gilbert Munger, …" [Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8]
"After Gilbert Munger's death in 1903, Myra Dowd Monroe
and Roger S. Munger went to New York to clear out GM's effects which
were stored in the Lincoln warehouse. There were GM's pallette, brushes,
watercolor boxes, sketch books, etc. There was also many unstretched canvasses in rolls."
[From the report written by Robert S. Orcutt concerning his 29 September 1994 visit with Doris Monroe Weissman, Monroe's daughter.]
"The Hon. William J. White, of Cleveland O., owns eight or
ten of this artist's best works."
[Munger obituary in American Art Annual 1900-3]
NOTE  According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History available via the Cleveland Public Library web site, Mr. White was elected to Congress from the Cleveland area in 1892 and he had a good art collection. According to Hiram College, White's son Harrie Walter White was in the same class with Harold Bell Wright in 1894-5. Harold Bell Wright named one of his sons Gilbert Munger Wright, based on the friendship they developed that year. It seems likely that White was Munger's Cleveland patron when Munger was painting portraits there in 1895 or on the subsequent 1897 visit. (See the entry above for 1902 Jan 19).
1904 Jan 4 — "ART NOTES - Among American artists who always found London too attractive to part from long was Gilbert Munger of Connecticut. If he never reached the fame of Whistler, Sargent, Abbey, or Shannon, if he never had the vogue of Boughton, Hennessey, or Mark Fisher, his career abroad was sufficiently successful to make it expedient for him to adopt Europe as his home, only returning to the United States from time to time. He died at Washington, D.C., during the course of the year just elapsed. A score of his paintings may be seen from Monday, the 4th, to Saturday, the 16th, at the Noé Art Galleries, 368 Fifth Avenue. There are townscapes from Venice, Paris, Flerury, Anvers, Poissy, Bougival, &c., and scenes from the Fontainebleau forest. Exhibiting at the principal shows in London, Paris, and Berlin, he obtained the Legion of Honor in France, he obtained, the St. Andrew Red Cross ribbon in Russia, the Leopold Gold Medal with crown in Belgium, and the Grand Cross for Art and Science in Germany. He was an honorary member of the Academy of the Fine Arts of Italy, winning a gold medal. It is a curious commentary on the way which the art exhibitions are managed in New York that the works of a man who was able to secure so many honors, medals, and other destinctions in Europe should be almost unknown over here. This small exhibit at the Noé Galleries will give some idea of the kind of pictures that win applause abroad." [Monroe-3, clipping from an unnamed New York newspaper]
The gallery catalog painting list is: "1. Fontainebleau; 2. Lake Peat, Fontainebleau; 3. Seine, Near Poissy; 4. Near Fleury; 5. Pigeon Lake, Near Fontainebleau; 6. Fontainebleau; 7. Near Poissy; 8. Near Bougeval; 9. Fontainebleau; 10. Seine, above Poissy; 11. Niagara Falls; 12. Venice; 13. Franchard, Fontainebleau; 14. Fontainebleau Border; 15. Fontainebleau Border; 16. Anvers, Near Paris; 17. St. Germaine; 18; Fontainebleau Border." [Monroe-3, Exhibition catalog]
1904 Jan 5 — In a letter from Mr. Walter Paris, artist, to Myra Dowd Monroe:
I met him (Munger) for the first time in San Francisco in 1875, where he was then established in his studio as an artist, and the work be was doing at that time was the most careful and conscientious interpretation from nature, fine in color and strong in artistic values. His work of those days I consider the most interesting period of his life as it was absolutely sincere and not influenced by the art of any other country. It was spontaneous and full of the most careful feeling for truth and for Nature.
I next saw Munger in London about the year 1882. He was then occupying a fine studio close to New Bond Street. He had a great display of pictures on the spacious walls and on easels and he appeared to be full of work and in a most prosperous condition of life. He in those days was one of the best dressed men who walked Bond Street and Piccadilly and at the same time was an extremely, distinguished looking man. I saw considerable of Munger at that time and found great pleasure in his acquaintance as a friend and as an artist.
His work was somewhat changed at this period as he had been studying the great galleries of Europe and England. Altogether, I should say that his best work was painted from 1880 to 1890. But after this I am not sure, as I saw nothing of his work after I left him in London in 1882, I believe, until I met him again in Washington some seven or eight years ago (1896-7) and by this time I found he was painting greatly under the influence of the great landscape school of France - Corot, Diaz, etc, and this feeling he indulged in more or less in everything from that period till the time of his death. Munger was a most indefatigable worker and his whole mind and soul were given to his love of Art.
The fascination was so strong that of late years he was not satisfied to work the whole day but he too frequently toiled the whole evening and frequently the whole night as well. This naturally affected his health as he no longer took meals at regular hours, only when he felt like it.
Munger was a man of unusual character and in everything a born artist. Personally he was full of idiosyncrasies which developed more especially toward the end of his career and drove him in a measure to becoming a recluse from the outside world. This condition of things was brought about, doubtless, by the losses he sustained in investing his lifelong saving in speculative schemes and companies which paid no dividends and so deprived him of income which he had relied on for his old age. Every man he had dealings with seemed to take a mean advantage of his confidence in his fellowmen.
[Quoted in Monroe, p.120-22]
1904 Jan 5 —
"Art and Artists -
The late Gilbert Munger was an American, who was born in Connecticut in 1836,
and went abroad early in his career to stay until within a few years of his
death. Spending a long time in France, at Barbizon, where he was intimate
with many of the "men of thirty," and afterward returning in England, he
established himself in London, becoming a regular contributor to the Royal
Academy and other British exhibitions. A collection of his work is now shown
at the Noé (formerly Avery) Gallery, 366 Fifth avenue, where eighteen
canvases are hung, giving an adequate idea of the artist's manner of work
and the themes he most favored. The influence of his sojourn, near the
forest of Fontainebleau and his intimacy with the men identified with that
place are unmistakable. There is scarce a picture here which does not show
some trace of their mannerisms, their methods of painting, or their way of
seeing nature. Rousseau, Corot, Diaz, have contributed their share, the
result being generally an eclectic canvas suggesting any or all of these men.
It was when Mr. Munger more nearly approached Rousseau that he was most successful. Given a dark tree, some distance illumined by b afternoon sunlight, a sky of brilliancy, and Mr. Munger would occasionally secure some fine passages, suggestive of the great Barbizon painter. Left to himself, as in the large canvas of "Niagara Falls," it cannot be said his art was very impressive. The color in this picture is commonplace, the drawing not too distinguished, and the conception only feeble. One or two of the Fontainebleau canvases here are fairly successful and more personal, but as a rule all are so reminiscent as to force comparison, not to the advantage of Mr. Munger. It is interesting in view of the quality of the work shown, which we presume is to be accepted as more or less representative, to note that honors were fairly showered on this American artist, who had a large number of medals and decorations from France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, and Italy, for which excuse is by no means evident in the present display." [New York Commercial Advertiser]
1904 Jan 9 — "The eighteen landscapes the the Noé gallery, by the late Gilbert Munger, show that artist as a painstaking workman, and his pictures strongly reminiscent of the Barbizon school, have a kind of pedestrian merit. But they are neither original enough nor strong enough in technique to command serious attention." [New York Tribune, p.7]
1904 Mar 26 —
"SUPREME COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, HOLDING A PROBATE COURT.
No. 11,263, Administration.
This is to give notice that the subscriber, who was by the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, granted letters of administration on the estate of Gilbert Munger, deceased, has, with the approval of the Supreme Court of the district of Columbia holding a Probate Court, appointed MONDAY, the 18th DAY OF APRIL, 1904, at 10 O'CLOCK, A.M, as the time, and said court room as the place for making payment and distribution from said estate, under the court's direction and control. ...
Given under my hand this 25th day of March, 1904. ROGER S. MUNGER,
By LYON & LYON, Attorneys, ..." [The Washington Times, p.3]
NOTE  The D.C. Superior Court Probate Division reported in 2020 that no estate is on file or in the archives for this name and case number.
1904 — Connecticuit Magazine publishes the profile "Connecticut Artists and their Work - Gilbert Munger" by his niece Myra Dowd Monroe. [Monroe]
1904 — Munger's friend James Cresap Sprigg authors and publishes the small book Memoir, Gilbert Munger, Landscape Artist, 1836-1903. [Memoir]
1904 Apr — Memoir is given by S. P. Avery to the New York Public Library. ["Principal Accessions in April", Bulletin of the New York Public Library, v.8, p.244]
1904 Jun 6 — Munger's artist friend's letter to Munger's niece Myra Dowd Monroe:
Cazenovia, New York
June 6, 1904
Dear Mrs. Monroe:
I wrote you yesterday and forgot to include an autograph which Mr. Munger wrote in my check book at Washington before coming to his new studio in New York in 1897. I am sure you will value it in its full worth. If I find some more of his letters I will send you one. They are finished and complete and show him the real man at his best. I shall be so glad to hear from you again.
1904 Sep 9 —
"PROBATE COURT —
Mr. Justice Anderson.
Estate of Gilbert Munger: rule on administration to show cause why certain claim should not be paid. Attorney: John L. Warren." [The Washington Post, p.11]
1904 — Dwight Williams of Cazenovia NY, an artist friend of Munger's, paints a copy of a Munger Barbizon painting (probably #212). A resident of Cazenovia discovered the Williams painting in his attic in 2006. It apparently had been there for some time. The back of the painting is inscribed in pencil on the stretcher: "Fontainebleau Morning of Munger (after the Fontainbleau School) 1904 - With variations in color - Painted by Dwight Williams of Cazenovia N.Y. - Painted on extra fine French canvas" A label stuck to the canvas on the back says: "It is hearby certified this is a work of Dwight Williams of Cazenovia, N.Y. (signed by) F. L. Kormer, Executor, & Harros B. Shepherd, Chairman of Committee." [This information received in an email from the person who discovered the painting.]
1905 Feb 18 — Munger paintings sold at London auction. The catalog title page shows:
Catalog of modern pictures and water colour drawings, the property of a gentleman, also modern pictures and drawings the property of a lady, and from numerous private collections and different sources: which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson&Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Saturday February 18, 1905 at one o'clock precisely.
In the section of the catalog for "property of a lady" appears: "G. Munger 38. The Forest of Fontainebleau on panel 11½ in. by 17½ in."; and "G. Munger 39. Near Creil on panel 11 in. by 17 in." Handwritten notes on the facing page show that lot 38 sold for 18.18.- to Bigham and that lot 39 was bought in for 10 guineas. [VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]
1906 Jan - Jun — A Munger painting is listed in the estate sale for Rufus E. Shapley of Philadelphia: Harvesting sold for $550. [Brush and Pencil magazine for this period.]
1906 Dec 6-8 — The auction of the collection of Oil Paintings and Water Colors by the Gifted American Artist JASPER F. CROPSEY, N.A., together with Notible Paintings by his brother artists, contains:"16 Gilbert Munger, New York Lake Scene" [Catalog from Silo Art Galleries, New York]
1906 — A mid-west museum lists two paintings by Gilbert Munger in their collection: 317 - Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite; 319 - Distant View of Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite. [Martin L. D'Ooge (Curator of the Gallery), Catalog of the Gallery of Art & Archaeology in the University of Michigan, p.119]
1907 — This drawing made by Charles D. Hubbard appears on page 121 of Old Paths and Legends of the New England Border by Katharine Mixer Abbott, published in 1907.
1908 Jan —
"The Heart of the Sierras, by Bierstadt, was first placed on exhibition at the San Francisco Art
Association's rooms, and when Gilbert Munger painted his Grand Cañon of the
it also was exhibited there." [Robert Howard Fletcher (Director of the San Francisco Art Institute),
"The Progress of Art in California," News Notes of California Libraries, Jan
NOTE  It is hard to know what to make of this information. We have no record that Munger ever visited the Colorado River. Yet painting #286 once was incorrectly named The Colorado River. Also, Munger was dead by 1908, so Fletcher must be reporting on some historic events.
1910 Apr 6 —
"BIG PRICES PAID FOR YERKES PICTURES
The Alma-Tadema 'Spring' Sold for $22,600
Israel's 'Frugal Meal' $19,500.
43 PICTURES FOR $162,225
Depreciation in Value of Meissonier -'The Reconnaissance,'
for Which Yerkes Paid $13,500, Sold for $5,300.
There was a big and interested crowd at the first evening sale of the Charles T. Yerkes collection of pictures at Mendelsohn Hall, and if conclusions can be drawn from prices bought last evening, the sale will be an unusual one. The first lot of a collection will usually bring out the smallest crowd and the least enthusiasm; and the least interesting pictures are shown. Last night the forty-three pictures disposed of brought $162,225. The Alma-Tadema, 'Spring,' which has attracted a great deal of attention since it had been on exhibition at the American Art Galleries, bought the highest price, $22,600. It went to a Western dealer, Henry Rheinhardt.
Following is the full list of pictures, artists, and buyers, or agents:
Near Nanterre - Gilbert Munger: T. R. Benkard $425
Among those in the audience were Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. Taft, John W. Gates, and Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Oakman. The sale will continue this evening at Mendelssohn Hall." [The New York Times, p.4]
1911 Feb 23-24 — The catalog for the sale of a collection of MODERN PAINTINGS belonging to Dr. S. C. G. WATKINS of Montclair, New Jersey, contains: "107 Gilbert Munger (Deceased) Border of Forest at Fontainebleau 22 x 32" with handwritten notes on the page showing the price, "200," and the buyer, "Rice." [Catalog from Clarke’s Art Rooms, New York]
1911 Jun 17 —
"GILBERT MUNGER PAINTING OF DULUTH IN EARLY DAYS
FOUND IN WASHINGTON
The above picture was recently unearthed in the storeroom of a Washington art dealer by C. H. Syme and sold by him to Z. T. Mullin of Washington, who sent it to his son, H. J. Mullin of this city.
It is a picture of Duluth in the early days and was painted by Gilbert Munger. Mr. Mullin, whose office is in the Lonsdale Building, invites all those interested to step into the building and see it.
The picture was in the back room of an art dealer in the city of Washington, and had been there until he had nearly forgotten its existence. It was covered with dust when found.
The picture hung at one time in the old Wormley Hotel in Washington. It is believed that it was taken there at the time an effort was being made to secure a land grant for the old Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad, on the occasion of Proctor Knott's speech. After the hotel was torn down the picture made its way in some manner into the art dealer's shop. There it has been ever since.
When he discovered it, Mr. Syme washed the dust from it and showed it to several Duluthians, hoping to interest them in purchasing it. Mr. Mullin finally bought it.
The Duluth man who now owns it will probably have it hung at the Commercial club for a time. The name of the painter is quite visible on the back of the canvas.
Old-time Duluthians who have seen it think it should become the property of the city and be preserved with the relics of its day." [The Duluth Herald, p.17]
NOTE  Donet D. Graves Sr., Esq., great-great grandson of James Wormley and historian of the Wormley Hotel, says that Clarence King was an intimate friend of Wormley. In fact one of his grandsons was named Clarence King. Graves provides a estate inventory of Wormley's widow listing the painting "Duluth", recorded as located in the main dining room of the hotel. See also the entry for 1929 May 23 below.
1912 Dec 12-13 — The auction of a Choice Collection of MODERN PAINTINGS By American Artists Exclusively contains: "48   Gilbert MUNGER On the Oise 12 x 19." [Catalog from Clarke's Auction Rooms, New York]
1914 Apr 30 - May 1 — The auction of several collections of VALUABLE OIL PAINTINGS including the estate of the late JAMES A. ALEXANDER contains: "61   MUNGER (Gilbert) American   Landscape 13 x 16½." [Catalog from Fifth Avenue Auction Rooms, New York]
1916 Apr 3-5 — The Anderson Galleries NYC auction of Paintings by American and European Artists sold the following lots:
Gilbert Munger American 112. The Cliffs Canvas Signed 12 x 20 (not illustrated) $15
Gilbert Munger American 285. Cattle at Pasture Canvas Signed 26½ x 36 (not illustrated) $200
The latter may be painting #153. [Auction catalog]
1916 Nov 9 — Munger paintings sold at a London auction. The catalog title page:
Catalog of the collection of modern pictures and water colour drawings of the British and Continental Schools, the property of a W. Y. Baker, Esq., late of Aspen House, 219 Brixton Hill S.W., which (by order of the executors) will be sold by auction by Messrs. Christie, Manson&Woods at their Great Room, 8 King Street, St. James Square, on Thursday November 9, 1916 and following day, also on Thursday November 16, 1916 and following day at one o'clock precisely.
Page 20: "Gilbert Munger 123. Near Franchard 21 in. by 17 in." Handwritten notes on the entry show a sale for 25.4. to Harmen. Also: "Gilbert Munger 261. Near Bon(n)eval on panel 10 in. by 18 in." Handwritten notes on the entry show a sale for 15.15. to Cormell.
Page 39: "Gilbert Munger 261. Near Moret on panel 11½ in. by 17½ in." Handwritten notes record the lot sold for 11.3.6 to Mitchell. This painting was also in the sale of 27 June 1903 as lot 59.Page 58: "Gilbert Munger 406. Near Bourron on panel 10¾ in. by 17½ in." Handwritten notes record the lot sold for 16.16 to Schumaeker.
[VH - from microfilm of the auction catalog.]
1917 Sep 3 —
"MUNGER PAINTING OF DULUTH IS CITY PROPERTY
Announcement of the donation of the handsome oil painting by Gilbert Munger of Duluth in 1871 to the city by Luther Mendenhall has been made by Mayor C. R. Magney, who received the gift for the city. The tribute paid by one of Duluth’s most public-spirited citizens came without solicitation and as a complete surprise to the city officials.
The only condition attached to the gift was that the painting is to be hung in the library until such time as the city possesses an art gallery of its own. That this condition would be observed was the opinion ventured by the mayor yesterday. At present the painting is on display at Edwards art gallery, 12 Second avenue West, where it will remain for several days before official possession is taken by the city. The picture was painted from the heights of the boulevard and takes in a view of the bay and harbor. Distinctive use of colors and a harmonious mixing of shades are the outstanding features that have endeared the drawing to Duluth citizens. The artist, Gilbert Munger, was a brother to Roger S. Munger, one of the founders of Duluth.
A resolution expressing the city's appreciation of the gift was adopted by the council yesterday afternoon." [Duluth New Tribune, p.4]
1920 Jan 16 —
"Sir Henry Raeburn’s A Boy With Cherries
Feature of American Art Association Sale, Bought by O. Bernet
A total of $166,885 was paid, at the second and concluding sale of the American Art Association at the Plaza Hotel last night for seventy-eight paintings by English and Dutch old masters and the less noted works of some French and American modernists. It was a 'Baeburn evening,' for the largest amounts bid were for that artist’s work. Sir Henry Raeburn’s A Boy With Cherries sold for $20,000, offered by Otto Bernet, an agent; and the same artist’s Portrait of Lady Broughton was bought by W. W. Seaman, an agent, for $15,300. Several works of Sir Joshua Reynolds brought big sums. The largest was paid for his Portrait of the Misses Paine, which went to W. W. Seaman for $15,000. Charles Francis Daubigny’s Village on the Oise was bought by the Knoedler Galleries for $9,100, and a Corot landscape was purchased for $8,400 by the Knoedler Galleries."
The list of paintings that sold for $200 and upwards follows and includes: " Gilbert Munger. Forest of Fountainbleau to Joseph Gerli $310"[New York Daily Tribune, p.12]
1920 Oct — A special exhibition of 107 American paintings includes "1 by Gilbert Munger." [The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, v.7, n.8]
1922 Apr 21 — The catalog for the sale of a collection of MODERN PICTURES and WATER COLOUR DRAWINGS contains: "Gilbert Munger 1886 126 A Watering-Place Near Warwick Place 54 in. by 47½ in." [Catalog from Messrs, Christie, Manson, & Woods, London]
1922 Sep 17 —
"FIRST ART EXHIBIT OF SEASON THRONGS DULUTH LIBRARY
'Venice', Munger Masterpiece, Presented to Society;
Speaker Sketches Life of Artist.
Dwight Woodbridge gave the presentation address, which was acknowledged on behalf of the society by C. C. Rosencranz, well known Duluth artist. Mr. Woodbridge’s remarks were, in part, as follows:"
Love of Duluth.
Mr. Munger was one of four brothers and a sister, old New England ancestry, all of the five born and brought up in southern Connecticut along the Long Island shore. It is a melancholy and perhaps a significant fact that of all the five there are now but two immediate descendants. Mrs. R. S. Tatrick and Mrs. Dwight E. Woodbridge, the donors of this picture, and that so far as the Munger name is concerned, the family is at an end. So the old stock-passes!
Died in 1903.
Of these four brothers one was a painter, Gilbert Munger, the creator of the work of art before you now. He was an enthusiast, too, but his creative work laid in painting not in city building. He was essentially a Parisian, living in Paris most of his life, coming back to America to die. Much of his work is scattered in galleries abroad, some in the United States. There is some in Duluth, more in St. Paul and Minneapolis, still more in San Francisco and New York and Cleveland. Living abroad during the full flower of his genius, he was less known in this country than most of the artists of his generation. He died in Washington in 1903.
All his life he was an artist. At the age of 14 he was a full fledged engraver for the United States government, depicting on steel rare discoveries in natural history. For five years he worked thus, employed chiefly in engraving large plates of plants, birds, fish, fossils, reptiles, portraits and landscapes for those wonderful series of official reports issued about that time by the government and covering the exploring expeditions of Commodore Wilkes and the scientific works of Professor Agassiz and the Smithsonian institution. Painting, especially landscaping, to which he wished to devote himself, was not considered by the people of New England as a quite respectable occupation. During the Civil war he became major of engineers, and was occupied in designing and constructing fortifications.
In West Three Years
One of the first commissions he had in 1865 was from the Prussian government for a Niagara Falls, for which he was paid $5,000. This money and a like sum for a Minnehaha, gave the means to cut all bridges. For three years he was in the western mountains, a companion at times with Albert Bierstadt and at time with that most versatile genius, Clarence King, whose founding and early direction are still felt as a governing factor in the activities of the United States Geological Survey.
Member of Barbizon
For the remaining 30 years of his life he lived abroad, in Paris, In Venice and at times elsewhere. He was influenced greatly by the Barbizon art group, of which he was a member, and most of his work shows that effect. Corot and those other delicate painters of finished workmanship, were either his associates and companions, or his immediate predecessors. At one time he and the English Millais painted together, and there is extant one picture of which each painted half. This is a curiosity of art. It is hard to distinguish which man did either part.
During Munger’s life and work abroad he naturally received many titles and decorations. (A partial list follows.)
[Duluth New Tribune, p.3]
1923 Sep 15 — In an article titled "Early California Artists":
Two young Eastern artists made a long stay in San Francisco in the early seventies. These were Gilbert Munger and John R. Key, and there was much discussion over the merits of the work they did during their visit. Their styles were both excellent in their way, but were quite different. Munger's painting was done in large heavy strokes, that might almost be called daubs, and one had to stand at quite a distance to thoroughly enjoy them. Key's touches were so fine and delicate it almost required a magnifying glass to discover them. Each had their admirers. Key was related to the Key family of Star Spangled Banner fame, and he was quite a society favorite in our best circles. Munger was not of the society type, and did not care for it. His studio was over in San Rafael and he and Bret Harte spent most of their time there together.
[San Francisco Newsletter, p.8, c.2, by A PIONEER]
1923 Oct 8-10 — The catalog for the sale of a collection of HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE PAINTINGS AND OBJECTS OF ART contains: "289 LAKE TAHOE BY Gilbert Munger Oil canvas. Signed and dated 1872 to the lower right. Size 13½ x 12 inches. (Estate of the late Samuel H. Kauffmann, former President of the Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, D.C.)" [Catalog from The Anderson Galleries, New York]
1923 Nov 12 — Six Munger paintings from the Collection of Hon. Lyman A. Mills of Middlefield, are exhibited in The Morgan Memorial, Hartford CT, beginning November 12th, 1923. "The titles are: 10. Near Poissy; 33. Franchard Near Fontainebleau, 1892 (Made a gift to the Athenaeum); 34. Near Saint-Germain; 35. Reflections; 36. Carnival At Nice, 1890; 37. Colorado River, 1876." [Exhibition Catalogue provided by the Wadsworth Athenaeum Archives]
1923 Nov 12 — This piece notes that the Mills collection included 15 Munger paintings:
Mills Collection of Art At Morgan Memorial - Middlefield's Connoisseur Loans Over 30 Masterpieces for Exhibit - Gilbert Munger Paintings to Predominate
From a sunny cheerful house, built in 1787, which sets well back from the road and overlooks a lovely sweep of country that might inspire any artist to paint endless landscapes, come the thirty-odd paintings which are to be seen in the Middle Pictures Gallery, on the second floor of the Morgan Memorial.
Lyman A. Mills of Mansfield, who has sent the gems of his collection to the Atheneum, began in the '80s to acquire pictures; and today his interest in them is as keen as ever. Works by American artists predominate, but his taste is catholic enough to include also examples of the English, French, German, and Dutch schools, when he finds a canvas that appeals to him. Collecting has been a keen pleasure to Mr. Mills, and he tells numerous anecdotes and recollections, which add greatly to the interest of the pictures. Many of the American works are early ones; but the recent exhibitions at Lyme and elsewhere have not lacked Mr. Mills' patronage.
The largest number of pictures in the present exhibition by any one artist are by Gilbert Munger, who was born in 1836 [sic] at North Madison. Later the family went to New Haven to live. As a child Munger showed artistic talent; and, after studying engraving in Washington, he became a government engraver at the age of fourteen. He made the plates of birds, plants, fish, etc, etc. for the publications of the Smithsonian Institution for Prof. Louis Agassiz and others. However, his great desire was to paint; and he managed to sketch and study before and after his working hours. During the Civil War he was engaged on the field fortifications around Washington, and when it ended he took a studio in New York and began to paint. That winter he exhibited at the National Academy of Design. Then he spent three years in the Rocky Mountain region producing some of the sincerest and most interesting work of his life. To this period belongs the Colorado River No. 36 in the exhibition; and doubtless, also No. 35 Reflections which is not dated. While in the West, Munger also met several Englishmen who advised him to take his studies to England, which he finally did. He found am appreciative public in London, and received many orders. Later he went to Scotland with Sir John Millais; and in 1879 he exhibited at the English Royal Academy some of his Scottish pictures. Loch Marie, one of these, is a large canvas now owned by Mr. Mills.
Had Bond Street Studio.
Munger had a fine studio near New Bond street and was a distinguished figure in London where he remained for ten years. Next he went to Paris, and traveled extensively through Europe in the summers. Ruskin invited him to come to Venice, and fifty pictures resulted from that trip. A large pearly-toned, distant view of Venice, showing the Campanile and palaces (likely #44) belongs to Mr. Mills. The Carnival of Nice (No. 34) dated 1890 is an interesting handling of large groups of people in the plaza before the Casino. The St. Germain (No. 34) and Franchard (No. 33) reminiscent of Corot and the Barbizon School, and Near Poissy, one of his late works done shortly before his return to America in 1893, complete Munger's group in the exhibition. The later picture arrests attention by the brilliant rendering of clouds, while the whole tonal effect is entirely different from his other canvases. From 1880 to 1890 is considered the best period. His work is not generally known because he exhibited but seldom, and most of his paintings were sold in advance. He made his home in Washington, finally, and died there in 1903. Mr. Mills has a great appreciation of Munger's work and he owns some fifteen examples all told.
On the short wall with the very beautiful sunset Franchard Near Fontainebleau by Gilbert Munger, which Mr. Mills has presented to the Athenaeum for its permanent collection, …
[Hartford (CT) Courant, clipping provided by the Wadsworth Athenaeum Archives]
1923 Nov 15 — Here are the first few paragraphs of a long article largly drawn from [Monroe-2]:
THE MUNGER PAINTINGS
Six Of These Art Works Now On Exhibition In Hartford.
Gilbert Munger, artist, native of North Madison, friend of royalty, decorated by nine countries, a painted of the glories of nature all over two continents, dead these twenty years, yet lives. He lives upon the canvasses into which he wrought his personality, his reverence for nature. his keen sense of truth, and by which his spirit stands revealed.
Six of these paintings are now on exhibition in the Morgam Memorial, Hartford, being part of the collection of Hon, Lyman A. Mills of Middlefield. The exhibition opened on Monday, Nov. 12, and was attended by Mr. and Mrs. J. Harrison Monroe, Mrs, Edgar Dowd, Mrs. George S. Davis and Miss Doris Monroe.
The painting; are these: Reflections (see #248); Colorado River, 1876 (see #286); Near Saint-Germain (new, to be added); Carnival at Nice, 1890 (see #64); Near Poissy, 1893 (new, to be added); Franchard Near Fontainebleau,1892 (see #192). The last named picture has been made a gift to the Athenaeum.
Mr. Munger was a kinsman of Mrs. Myra Dowd Monroe, having been a cousin of her father, the late Edgar Dowd. Having herself the artistic gift, Mrs. Monroe was well fitted to write the appreciation of the artist which appeared in the June Quarterly of the Connecticut Magazine 1904 and which forms the basis of this article by the author's consent. …
[Shoreline Times, Guilford CT]
1925 — The firm of Stan V. Henkels in Philadelphia offers the following lot in their sale of a Choice Collection of Messotintos, Color Prints, and Etchings by Popular Masters of the Art: "164. Gilbert Munger - Eminent Modern Etcher - The Herring Fleet - Original etching - Proof." This is likely an example of etching #179.
1926 Jan 5 — Letter from Munger's friend James Cresap Sprigg to his grandson-in-law Broadmax Cameron:
The Smithfield Company
January 5th, 1926.
Broadmax Cameron, Esq.
Citizens National Bank Bldg.
My dear Broadmax,
I think it well to give you in writing
a brief memorandum or chain of title covering ownership
of the French landscape by the great artist Corot left
with you, today, as you are good enough to try to dispose
of it among your friends.
The painting came into my possession
nearly 30 years ago, through Gilbert Munger, the great
American artist, who said that he obtained it with a small
Diaz landscape of the Forest of Fontainebleau from Corot's
private gallery at the sale of his effects, not long after
Corot's death. As you know, Gilbert Munger died some 23
years ago, and for many years prior to his death, had been
one of my most intimate friends. Mr. Munger, himself,
followed in the tracks of the old masters of the Barbizon
School, and painted some of the finest landscapes now
adorning many European galleries. He was decorated by
nearly all foreign governments, and declared to be by the
great art critics of his day, the peer of the painters
of the Barbizon School.
The Corot should bring about $10,000.,
but being in need of funds for the above business, to in-
crease their supply of Smithfield Hams. I am willing to
consider a reasonable offer.
Thanking you in advance for any trouble
that you may go to, I am,
J. C. Sprigg (signed)
[Letter courtesy of Marilyn Cathcart]
NOTE  The letter was found in the estate of Cameron's wife (Sprigg's granddaughter) Julia Duryea Sprigg Cameron.
1929 May 23 — "Offers to sell painting - Henry J. Mullin, former real estate dealer of Duluth, now living in Jenkins, Minn., wrote to the city council on Wednesday offering to sell an oil painting showing Duluth's early business district, the work of Gilbert Munger, a Twin Ports pioneer resident. The painting now hangs in the Kitchi Gammi club lounging room." [Duluth News Tribune; clipping provided courtesy of Patricia Maus, Northeast Minnesota Historical Center, Duluth]
1939 Jun 18 — On this date Katherine Burr Flemming published a long, retrospective article in a New Haven Connecticut newspaper on Gilbert Munger, who was born in neighboring Madison. Largely drawn for sources reported elsewhere in this webpage, it nevertheless included a few new tidbits.
Madison Reveres Munger's Genius
Noted 19th Century Artist Began Life in Connecticut Salt Box Home — Won World Acclaim for His Splendid Paintings.
Born in … His last visit to his boyhood house was a few years before his death. This visit, the return of the most distinguished son of the town, caused not a little excitement during his short stay there.
The old homestead, now owned by Munger's kin, Mrs. Susan Thompson, was built in 1750 by his grandfather, Joel Munger, on the Old Madison-Durham Road, but was moved in the year 1806 to its present location on Opening Hill … the surrounding country might not have looked any different now then it did when Gilbert Munger was a boy here, contentedly sketching the green forests and flowers near his home. Little changed also, in the quiet interior of the house, for the rooms hugging the chimney are furnished in keeping with its age, with many fine antiques. There is an excellent engraving of St. Paul, Minnesota, and a miniature, done by Munger hanging on the wall. … His painting of St. Paul's Cathedral of London is among the finest of his works.
Gilbert Munger's paintings are scattered throughout the world but there are also quite a number of his works not far from his boyhood home. Mrs. J. Harrison Monroe of Guilford, a relative, has several of his earlier pictures of the Western country splendidly displayed. …
Mrs. Monroe, who is also a talented artist and who uses Munger's easel and palette, is planning to open her home this summer during the tercentenary celebration of the town, to exhibit a collection of Gilbert Munger's paintings.
[New Haven (Evening) Register, Clipping from the Connecticuit State Library, no page number]
1942 Jan 25 —
"OUR TOWN 70 YEARS AGO
One of Gilbert Munger's large and magnificent paintings of Duluth — the finest one, by all odds, that has ever been executed — is now on exhibition at Messrs. Munger & Bros. music store opposite the Clark House; and those who have not seen it should embrace an early opportunity of doing so. This painting is about 3x6 feet, and is surmounted by a heavy, elegant and costly gilt frame, and is valued at the handsome little sum of $1,000." [Duluth News Tribune]
NOTE  [Thus, this article was first published in 1872.]
1948 Apr 27 — Munger's niece Myra Dowd Monroe presented the profile Gilbert Munger - Artist - 1836-1903, an update of the 1904 version. It contained the following:
The late Mr. Dwight Williams of Casenovia, N. Y., artist, art critic and close friend of Gilbert Munger, wrote me in connection with the Civil War period: "He (Gilbert) served the Government well and faithfully and was called Major in those days and had men under him both as construction chief and in the department of lithography, which department he fathered and saved the Government much money. He simplified the department of map-making during the war. He has frequently told me about it. (Note: These maps were used by the Generals in Sherman's campaign. After the war the Government offered Munger a permanent position in this field with a large salary, but he chose art.) Really he knew a lot of unwritten war history which I have often tried to have him write out; but he never had time, he would rather paint."
1950 Apr 9 —
"Munger's Works Shown - By Earl Finberg
An exhibition of a baker's dozen of landscapes by Gilbert Munger marks the expansion of the Penthouse gallery facilities in the Lyceum building.
The American landscape painter, who died in 1903, is connected with the city through relatives, two of whom are lending pictures for the exhibition. Roger Woodbridge , Sr., is showing three landscapes, including Forest at Fontainebleau; Mrs. Warren Jamar is lending another three, including Minnehaha.
At 7 p.m. Monday the paintings will be previewed in the second studio recently taken over by the Penthouse gallery. Dell Wheeler is continuing her classics in the first, and the additional space will be given over to exhibitions directed by Will Marvin Mudge.
Gilbert Munger was born in Connecticut in 1836 [sic]. He began his career in art when he was 14, engraving plates of flora and fauna in the employee of the federal government.
In 1860, with the Civil was clouds gathering, he gave up both engraving and his plans to paint and became an army engineer. But after the war he took a studio in New York and began to work on landscapes.
One of his early works wasMinnehaha, which was exhibited in many cities and which brought him a commission from the Prussian government to paint Niagara Falls. He was paid $5,000 for the picture. The Minnehaha commanded the same sum.
Now Munger went west and spent three years in the wildest scenery of the Rocky mountains. Ranging from British Columbia to California with easel and palette, he next turned to paint the wonders of Yosemite valley.
There he met certain Englishman who commissioned him to do $10,000 worth of paintings. They also urged him to travel to England. In 1876 [sic] he went abroad to live years in England. A frequent exhibitor in the Royal Academy, he found ready buyers for his American and British landscapes.
Munger went on to the Continent, painting in Venice and the forest of Fontainebleau. Finally, when his health was failing, he returned to his native land. He died in Washington D.C. in 1903.
Memoir, written in 1904, said of Gilbert Munger: 'He created not only a different style of treatment, but a distinct style of subject, and revealed to the world the artistic possibilities of the very simplest phrases of nature when translated with sympathetic appreciation of their modest beauties and the subtle poetry which invests them.' " [Duluth News Tribune, p.2]
NOTE  The article includes photos of the paintings "Forest at Fontainebleau" and "Minnehaha Falls." The chronology of Munger's life is misleadingly compressed in this account.
1960 Apr 10 —
"Tweed Gallery Site of Exhibit - Munger Paintings to
Twenty-four paintings by Gilbert Munger go on display today at the Tweed gallery as part of UMD's Fine arts festival.
Munger, who was decorated by kings, often stayed in Duluth to visit his brother Roger S. Munger. On two such visits - in 1871 and 1872 - Munger produced two oil paintings of Duluth and its harbor, which are included in the exhibit.
After Munger's death in 1903, many of his painting were brought back to Duluth by members of Munger's family.
Most of the paintings in the exhibit are loaned to the gallery by Miss Melville Silvey, Duluth, grand-niece of the artist. Miss Silvey previously had given six Munger paintings to the Tweed Gallery in memory of her mother Alice M. Patrick.
Mrs. Roger Woodbridge, Duluth, whose late husband was a grand-nephew of the artist, also is donating paintings for the show.
Other Munger paintings were borrows from the public library, Pilgrim Congregational church, Kitchi Gammi club, and the St. Louis County Historical society, which also loaned a bronze bust of Munger. The many international medals awarded to Munger also will be shown.
The paintings will be on display from 3 to 5 p.m. today and during regular gallery hours through April 26." [Duluth News Tribune]
1982 Dec 10 — "AMERICAN - Paintings by … Gilbert Munger, …and others. The Sporting Gallery Inc., Middleburg, Va., 22117. OPEN Mon. thru Sat., 9-5, 471-1733." [The Washington Post, Classified ad.]
1982 — The Munger profile "Gilbert Munger: On the Trail" is by Hildegard Cummings published by the Benton Museum of Art. [Cummings]
1982 — Gilbert Munger chapter appears in American Paintings at the Tweed Museum of Art. [Sweeney]
1989 Oct — The Madison (CT) Historical Society receives a bronze bust of Gilbert Munger owned by Julia Duryea Sprigg Cameron. See the entry for 1903 May 2 for details on the origin of the bust and the entry for 1997 Nov 20 below for details on Mrs. Cameron's connection to Munger. [Letter dated 11 August 1989 fom Brodnax Cameron Jr. in the archives of MHS.]
1992 Apr 26 —
"Paintings of America
And Photos of New Mexico
By Vivien Raynor
With paintings, as with individuals, the face can be familiar but not the name. This is very much the situation now in the Benton Museum, at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
The current show, which was organized by Hildy Cummings, the museum's curator of education, and Helen Fusscas, a former art dealer, includes 48 painters. None of them are superstars, although some enjoyed fame in their own time and have made a comeback, while others have remained in limbo. But still, the revisionist spirit behind the show is not the kind that revives reputations better left for dead. The curators have chosen artists, who, in Mrs. Cumming's words, 'did not change the course of American art but whose talent and vision greatly enriched it.'
In confining themselves to painters of quality (dread word), the curators have come up with work that is often seems more recognizable that it is. Thus, for a split second, it is possible to see an Asher B. Durand in Nelson Augustus Moore's The Path Home (1892); from across the room, Gilbert Munger's Scene in the Wasatch Mountains could be a Bierstadt study. Whether it's a matter of influence or Zeitgeist, the effect can be quite disconcerting.
…" [The New York Times, p.CN24]
1994 Fall — "Gilbert Munger's Paintings of Lake Marian" is published in the St. Louis County Historical Society Newsletter, Duluth, MN. The article describes the research into finding the locale for painting #1. That work lead directly to the development of this website. [Schroeder]
1997 Nov 20 — Notes on a visit with Brodnax Jr and Mignon Cameron and with Julia Duryea Sprigg Cameron, by Michael D. Schroeder.
Brodnax Cameron's grandfather was James Cresap Sprigg; born March 16, 1858, died 1946. He married Grace Elizabeth Duryea on December 15, 1896 and they made their home in Essex Fells, NJ, until after 1917. The first child was Julia Duryea Sprigg Cameron, born in 1897. She is Brodnax's mother and currently lives next door.
Seven Munger paintings hang in Julia Cameron's house, six of which have been reported to the Inventory of American Painting. They were inherited from her father. Julia Cameron remembers Gilbert Munger as a friend of the family, who often spent weekends at their house, probably in Essex Fells, NJ. "When he came down to breakfast in the morning, he would always say good morning to the children in a different languages. He was very nice and very good looking." Julia Cameron must have been about 5 years old at the time, since Munger died in 1903. She also stated that Munger went with them on vacations to the Catskills.
Since JCS was only 19 when Munger left for Europe in 1877, Munger's friendship with the Sprigg family must have developed after he returned in 1893, or possible in Europe.
The paintings in Julia Cameron's house were given to the Sprigg family at Munger's death, according to the statements made by Mingon Cameron on the submission forms: "According to family tradition, Gilbert Munger bequeathed to his friend, James C. Sprigg, the contents of his studio, including several of his paintings."
The IAP forms state that Memoir Gilbert Munger, Landscape Artist, 1836-1903 was written and privately published by James C. Sprigg in New York in 1904. This statement is corroborated by the author's signature on the last page of the family copy of the published book.
James Cresap Sprigg Jr., son of JCS born in 1898, also had six Munger paintings, presumably inherited from his father. JCS Jr died in 1989. After his wife died some time later the pictures were bequeathed to Julia Cameron and are now stored at an historical society museum in Virginia. These paintings are not registered with the IAP. JCS was involved in (owned?) the Smithfield Ham & Products Co. His son JCS Jr. joined the firm and eventually took it over.
Subsequent to the visit I contacted the historical society and made arrangements to have the JSC Jr. paintings photographed. The museum informed me that the estate of JCS Jr. contained several boxes of letters written by and to his father, including some from and about Gilbert Munger. These letters have ended up at a local antiques center. I contacted the center and made arrangements to learn the contents of these letter as they regard Gilbert Munger. Check the entries above for 1902 Jan 14, 19, 22, Aug 26; 1903 Jul 29, Aug 11; and 1926 Jan 5.
2003 Jul 26 — Major Munger exhibition opens at the Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth.
2003 Jul — "Gilbert Munger's quest for distinction" is published in The Magazine Antiques.. This document archive contains much of the source material for the article. [SS]
2003 Jul — The book Gilbert Munger: Quest for Distinction is published. This document archive contains much of the source material for the book. [QFD]