German-born American artist Gustave Wolff was an impressionist and tonalist painter known for his atmospheric, poetic landscapes and cityscapes. Wolff’s family left Berlin and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1866. Wolff first trained at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and furthered his art education in Europe, primarily in the Netherlands. Influenced by his teachers Paul Cornoyer (1864–1923) and Frederick Oakes Sylvester (1869–1915), as well as New York-based artist William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Wolff pulled from the conventions of the Dutch Hague School, American Impressionism, and Tonalism to establish his distinct style. Wolff adopted a loose, confident brushwork and a muted color palette. The St. Louis Republic noted in 1906 that he painted “in a low key, in dull grays and browns with a note of harmonious color.”
In 1917, he relocated to New York City to expand his artistic horizons. Wolff drew inspiration from the grittiness of the city’s infrastructure and sought to express the beauty in urban life. An artist of great depth and range, Wolff was honored with numerous awards, including a silver medal from the Society of Western Artists in 1907. His paintings were exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1906 and the German Association for Culture in 1913. Today, his work is included in the collections of the Lowe Art Museum and Zigler Museum.