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Gunnar Widforss



Gunnar Widforss (1879-1934), originally from Stockholm, Sweden, mastered the art of watercolor painting by traveling the world and capturing the most beautiful landscapes. Initially, he moved to Russia to be a decorative painter and work on commissioned pieces. He traveled nomadically around Europe but, during his travels, found himself broke in California. There he began painting the great Cyprus and Sequoia trees while befriending the director of the National Parks Service. The director advised him to stay in California and paint the wonders of the American National Parks. Widforss decided to stay and made a home for himself in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, where he lived for the rest of his life. During his last years, his watercolor paintings became well-renowned, and he earned himself the title of the “Painter of the National Parks.” He was one of the most famous artists in the West, but for reasons outside of his control, his health and success began to decline. Widforss was 50 when the great recession hit the United States, and though he was well-known and cherished, he could not sell much of his work. Yet, he continued to do what he loved and kept painting the breathtaking landscapes of Western America. He died young at 55 but left behind a legacy of extraordinary professional watercolors.

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