Gustav Wolff: Impressionist Landscape Painter  

Gustav Wolff: Impressionist Landscape Painter

Blog | March 18, 2016

Impressionist and Tonalist painter, Gustav Wolff, is best known for his landscape and animal paintings that reflected his adoration for nature. His paintings of early 20th century St. Louis scenery and the metropolitan mecca of New York City are also celebrated amongst art enthusiasts. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is honored to feature seven of artist Gustav Wolff’s Impressionist landscape paintings in the upcoming St. Louis Spring Auction on April 16.

Born in Germany in 1863, Wolff and his family later settled in St. Louis where he underwent formal artistic training while studying at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts under the guidance and influence of Impressionist and sometimes Pointillist style artist, Paul Cornoyer. Wolff was one of the pioneers of Tonalism, a landscape painting style conjuring an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist, and generally incorporating dark, neutral hues of gray, blue and brown. The St. Louis Republic, a weekly editorial, noted in 1906 that Wolff’s paintings were done “in a low key [manner], in dull grays and browns with a note of harmonious color.” This style is evident in the seven paintings Leslie Hindman Auctioneers is offering in the spring St. Louis auction.


Gustav Wolff, Landscape. Estimate: $500-700.

Wolff has been described by critics as a talented landscape painter, being able to create controlled sweeping brush-strokes and intricate textures found in city life as well as in nature’s sky. His time at the St. Louis School of Fine Art allowed him to reach artistic excellence seen most prominently in his nature landscapes. Influenced by Dutch painting styles, his work adopted a loose, confident brush-work, creating an atmospheric effect in his work that quickly excelled him to the forefront of the American Impressionist landscape movement.

The aesthetic of Wolff’s landscape paintings sway between sunset afternoons to twilight settings. The most appealing characteristic of Wolff’s landscapes is the subtlety of the warm, gentle pink, orange and yellow tones with cool blue shades enveloped in the overall neutral shades of the landscapes, eminent in the Tonalist features of Woman Walking Along the Tree-Lined Road and Figures in Landscape with Windmill, both highlights in the St. Louis auction.


Gustav Wolff, Woman Walking Along Tree-Lined Road. Estimate: $800-1,200.


Gustav Wolff, Landscape with Windmill. Estimate: $1,000-2,000

Wolff has won numerous awards for his paintings, including a silver medal from the Society of Western Artists in 1907 and has participated in exhibitions in the Paris Salon in 1906 and in New York City as part of the German Association for Culture in 1913, amongst others. His work is included in the collections of several institutions, including the St. Louis Art Museum, formerly known as the City Art Museum of St. Louis, Lowe Art Museum in Florida, and the Zigler Museum in Louisiana.


Gustav Wolff, Figures in Landscape at Sunset. Estimate: $700-900

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