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Rudolph F. Ingerle
(Vienna, Austria, April 14, 1879 - Oct. 20, 1950, Highland Park, IL)
Rudolph F. Ingerle was born on April 14, 1879, in Vienna, Austria. His family was from Moravia, a mountainous village region of current-day Czechoslovakia. Ingerle's rich family background contributed to many of his later paintings with rich colors and an emphasis on tradition. Ingerle and his family immigrated to the United States in 1891 and settled first in Wisconsin, later moving to Chicago. Asa young adult, Ingerle attended the Schmidt Art Academy and later the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was known to sketch the Institute's museum collection.
Ingerle had a strong love for his Moravian heritage, but focused much of his art on his new life in America. In the early 1900s, Ingerle established the Indiana School of Painting in Brown County with Indiana artist, T.C. Steele, and others; he would leave the school in its early years to help found the Society of Ozark Painters.
The Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina were a major inspiration for Ingerle during the 1920s, where he fell in love with the region and its abundant beauty. His serene landscape art became very popular with people of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, however, the remote forest lands between Asheville, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee, were threatened by growing lumber companies. Ingerle campaigned with fellow nature artists, photographers, and travel writers to save the forested areas; the Smoky Mountains National Park was established largely as a result of their efforts.
Throughout his career, Ingerle continued to paint landscapes and became known as the "Painter of the Smokies." He exhibited his work in prominent museums like the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC, and the Hickory Museum of Art in Western North Carolina. When he wasn't painting mountain scenes, Ingerle maintained a studio in Chicago, where he also exhibited his works in many major museums as well as throughout the Midwest. He participated in various art organizations for the City of Chicago and served as the President of the Chicago Society of Artists for two years.