by Christian Franzen
By Christian Franzen
Cornelius David Krieghoff was born in Amsterdam on June 19th, 1815. As a child, Krieghoff's father began to instruct him in drawing patterns and shapes so that he could participate in the family's wallpaper business. In his adolescent years he moved with his family to Germany. It is there where he began his formal artistic training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Germany.
In 1836, Krieghoff decided to move to America and settled in New York. He had a hard time making money as an artist so he enlisted in the United States Army. Consequently, Krieghoff spent the next three years fighting in the Indian Wars for the Westward expansion of the United States. While in the Army he found time to draw and paint; creating pieces that depicted the hard life of people living in the Western frontier.
After he was discharged, Krieghoff moved to Montreal, Canada. He became a painter of everyday rural Canadian life and was exhibited at the Salon de la Sociéte des Artists de Montréal. Ironically, he friended several groups of Native American peoples and they became popular subjects for him to paint. Throughout this period of time in the mid 19th century, Krieghoff was frequently traveling back and forth to Europe. When in Europe he would study master works at the various museums and engage in what art scene he could as an outside.
Krieghoff returned to the American continent for good in 1855, settling in Quebec. His paintings became very popular among the upper class as well as the blue collar people of Canada, so he began to sell a lot of work. Towards the end of his life , in 1868, Krieghoff moved to Chicago and retired from painting until his death in 1872.