Gunnar Widforss

Photo added by Tim Oliver

Gunnar Widforss

  • Birth 21 Oct 1879 Sweden
  • Death 30 Nov 1934 Grand Canyon, Coconino County, Arizona, USA
  • Burial Grand Canyon, Coconino County, Arizona, USA
  • Memorial ID 31845210

Gunnar Widforss was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1879 to Mauritz and Blenda Widforss who had thirteen children. His father owned a retail store bearing his name, which in 1968 was acquired by Erling Persson to form Hennes & Mauritz (H&M). Widforss's mother was an amateur artist. He studied to be a muralist in Stockholm beginning at age 16 from 1896-1900. He traveled and painted landscapes extensively in Europe and Africa gaining acclaim among European royalty prior to coming to America.

In 1921, he arrived in San Francisco and began to paint the National Parks of the American West. Gunnar's watercolors are renowned throughout the world-- particularly of his adopted home The Grand Canyon.

Widforss lived briefly with the Kolb family at their home and studio on the rim and later resided in a Fred Harvey Company dormitory. He established a studio on the rim of the Grand Canyon where his paintings were sold by the Fred Harvey Company at the art gallery in the lobby of the El Tovar Hotel.

In late 1934, he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and told by his doctor that he should leave the high altitude of Grand Canyon Village. Soon afterward, Widforss returned to the canyon to gather his belongings and say goodbye to his friends. He died at age fifty-four of a heart attack while standing on the rim of the canyon he loved. His friends buried him in the Grand Canyon Pioneers cemetery. At his death, his estate contained over 150 finished and unfinished paintings.

Today, Widforss's paintings are in many private collections and can be viewed at many of the national parks. Though he made very little money during his lifetime, he is considered by art historians to be one of America's great western landscape painters.

The Widforss Trail on the north rim of the Grand Canyon was named for him. The trailhead is approximately 3 miles north of the North Rim Lodge. The trail follows the canyon rim and meanders through the forest to emerge at Widforss Point. Widforss Point is a narrow, wooded promontory half a mile southeast at the end of the Widforss trail.

For additional biograpical information and photos please visit http://www.gunnarwidforss.org/biography or click on Gunnar Widforss.


Inscription

"Bury this man there?
Here, here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form
Lightnings loosened, stars come and go.
Lofty designs must close in like effects
Lofty lying
Leave him still loftier than the world suspects
Living and lying"


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  • Maintained by: Tim Oliver
  • Originally Created by: Dave H.
  • Added: 30 Nov 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 31845210
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Gunnar Widforss (21 Oct 1879–30 Nov 1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 31845210, citing Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery, Grand Canyon, Coconino County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by Tim Oliver (contributor 47625525) .