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Lars Gustaf Sellstedt

Lars Gustaf Sellstedt

Born: Sweden

Lars Sellstedt was born in Sweden and immigrated to the U.S. in 1834, where he worked as a merchant seaman on the Great Lakes until 1845, when he settled in Buffalo and began a new career as a portrait painter and educator. He married Caroline Scott, daughter of an area physician, in 1856, and with his newfound social prominence came several high-profile commissions. Aside from his paying work as a portraitist, Sellstedt's primary subject matter was the sea, represented in both his major paintings and in his autobiography, From Forecastle to Academy, Sailor and Artist (1904). He ultimately became, in the words of art historian William H. Gerdts, "the most significant and respected painter of the century in Buffalo." [1]

A major supporter of his adopted city's cultural scene, he was one of the founders, along with fellow painter Amos W. Sangster, of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in 1862, and later authored the definitive volume Art in Buffalo (1910). [2]


[1] William H. Gerdts, "The First Hundred Years of Painting in Buffalo," in The Wayward Muse: A Historical Survey of Painting in Buffalo, ed. Susan Krane (Buffalo: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1987), p. 27.

[2] Primary source for this entry: Thomas D. Mahoney, Our Legacy of Art in Western New York (brochure for exhibition at the Charles Burchfield Center, 09/14-10/24/1971).