Gunnar Widforss: Painter of the National Parks

Gunnar Widforss (1879-1934) spent much of his creative life painting Zion, Bryce, Mesa Verde, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Carlsbad Caverns, Sequoia, Death Valley, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, which earned the Swedish artist the nickname “Painter of the National Parks.” His realistic watercolors were noted for their strength and depth of color, similar to that of oils, and his ability to express deep space and atmospheric effects.

Widforss often visited Phoenix, at that time a rural and agricultural area. His paintings of Camelback Mountain, the Superstition Mountains and the surrounding small towns were exhibited in a gallery at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix.

In this program, Alan Petersen, Curator of Fine Arts for the Museum of Northern Arizona, explores the landscape artist’s life, career and art. Petersen curated a comprehensive exhibition of Widforss’ works in 2009, has published articles on the artist, and frequently lectures on his life and career.