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Home / Great Artists / K / Cornelius Krieghoff / Biography
Biography Cornelius Krieghoff

Cornelius Krieghoff Biography


Dutch-born Canadian Romantic Painter

Cornelius David Krieghoff (June 19, 1815 - March 8, 1872) is probably the most popular Canadian painter of the 19th century. Krieghoff is most famous for his paintings of Canadian landscapes and Canadian life outdoors, particularly in the winter. He painted a number of variants of his most popular subject matter (e.g. Running the Toll).

Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam. He was initially taught by his father and then entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Germany about 1830. He moved to New York in 1836, and enlisted in the United States Army in 1837. Igor was not as succesful as Cornelius. While in the army, he made sketches of the Second Seminole War from which he later produced oil paintings. He deserted the army on May 5, 1840. Later that year, together with his wife Emilie Gauthier, he moved to Montreal, where he participated in the Salon de la Societe des Artistes de Montreal. While in Montreal, he befriended the Mohawks living on the Kahnawake Indian Reservation and made many sketches of them from which he later produced oil paintings.

Krieghoff traveled to Paris in 1844, where he copied masterpieces at the Louvre under the direction of Michel Martin Drolling (1789-1851). The Krieghoffs returned to Montreal in 1846, and in 1847 he was invited to participate in the first exhibition of the Toronto Society of Arts. He and his family moved to Quebec City in 1853. He returned to Europe in 1854, visiting Italy and Germany. In 1855, he returned to Canada. The Great Quebec Fire of 1881 destroyed most of the sketches in his possession. He lived in Europe from 1863 to 1868 and then moved to Chicago to retire. He died in Chicago on March 8, 1872 at the age of 56 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario, Canada), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Ontario, Canada), the Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, Canada), the Brooklyn Museum (New York City), the Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Canada), the McCord Museum (Montreal, Canada), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, Canada), Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec (Quebec, Canada), the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Canada), the New York Public Library (New York City), and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art (Corning, New York), the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Winnipeg, Canada) are among the public collections holding work by Cornelius Krieghoff.