Walter Stuempfig, Jr.

(American, 1914 - 1970)

One of Philadelphia’s most highly regarded painters of the mid-twentieth century, Walter Stuempfig maintained a resolutely realistic style firmly based in the academic tradition, while most contemporary painting tended toward abstraction. Stuempfig received traditional and rigorous academic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in his native Philadelphia under such instructors as Henry McCarter (1886-1942). In later years Stuempfig was himself an influential teacher at the Academy, where he also exhibited regularly. Stuempfig’s art was profoundly influenced by extensive European travel during his formative years; his particular heroes were the painters Poussin, Caravaggio, and Corot. Stuempfig’s views of the hill towns along the Schuylkill outside Philadelphia and his haunting urban scenes in which people are barely included are pervaded by a melancholy that has caused some to call him a Romantic. For most of his career, Stuempfig exhibited with the New York gallery of Durlacher Brothers; his first one-man show there sold out on opening night. Today his paintings can be found in many private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy.