This page describes the principle features of the Munger website. In addition, the website has many indexes and other short articles on specific topics related to Munger and his art. The Blue Menu at the left of each page will lead you to all the features of the website.
The website's Document Archive of period materials by and about Munger is organized chronologically. The Document Archive Guide is a fast way to go to a particular period in Munger's life. Each archive entry carries a Sources attribution. The material presented has been collected over 30 years and is still being added to. The startling advances on digitizing newspapers, periodicals, catalogs, and books from the last 200 years has helped with this work tremendously. In addition, many people in the art world have generously provided items from their files.
The Picture Catalog
The main body of this website is an indexed Picture Catalog of the Munger pictures identified during 30 years of research. In the early 1990s, the most complete list of his pictures contained about 70. The initial version of the catalog, released in 1999, contained 173. It now contains over 320. This must be a fraction of Munger's total output and I would be glad to learn about more. For example, a letter he wrote from Venice, Italy, said that he was returning to England with 50 paintings, but this catalog lists just 20. There is a good chance that many early paintings were lost in the fires associated with the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
In this catalog the pictures are grouped by geographic locale. Within each locale pictures are ordered by height, then width. Since reported dimensions of paintings are quite unreliable, measurements are rounded to the nearest half inch, with .25 inch rounded down and .75 inch rounded up. The "Next" and "Prev" controls follow this order. Each picture entry provides title, height x width in inches, medium, inscriptions, labels, and when available an image. The prospect and signifigance may be discussed. In addition, recent public appearances of the painting in print and/or an exhibition, recent auction records, and notes on provenance are presented.
Most items in the catalog are paintings, but in the catalog also contains chromolithographs, etchings, and a drawing
The Geologic Survey Prints are chromolithographic plates from the 1878 book Systematic Geology by Clarence King, volume 1 of the U.S. govenment's 40th Parallel Survey report. The list of illustrations for that book states that the plates are "after studies by Gilbert Munger." These plates help in the identification of paintings.
The etchings in the catalog include four book plates that appeared in a visitor's guide to Washington D.C. published in 1868. Several reports indicate that after moving to London Munger did a good business in etchings for the Fine Art Society. The etchings included here are a Barbizon landscape, a view of the ships in a Scotish herring fleet, and five views of the Inns of Court in London.
Finally, the copied drawing #265 is the earliest picture we have from Munger. In it we see the extraordinary ability to draw that underlies his work.
Images of Pictures
The Image Manipulation page describes how the picture images in catalog enties have been prepared. In some cases these images are from low quality sources, for example photocopies of auction catalog pages. Some images came into my hands already in the digital domain with low resolution, thus limiting the presentation quality. Nevertheless, I stick to the principle that some image is better than no image.
The following abbrevations are used in the catalog entries:
- "IAP" indicates a reference number from the Smithsonian's Inventory of American Paintings.
- "QFD" indicates a plate numbers in Gilbert Munger: Quest for Distinction, Afton Historical Society Press, MN, 2003.
- Tweed 2003 Exhibition identifies pictures included in Tweed Museum Munger exhibition.
- Two letter postal abbrevations are used for US state names in many places.