Rudolph Ingerle

b. 1879, Vienna, Austria

Rudolph Ingerle was born in Vienna, Austria, to parents of Moravian descent. At age 12, he moved with his family to Burlington, Wisconsin, and then to Chicago. He attended John Francis Smith’s Art Academy with Walter Dean Goldbeck, an early abstract artist, and took night classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). In contrast to the school’s increasing embrace of modern art, Ingerle maintained a staunchly conservative approach. He was predominately interested in depicting authentic American subjects, especially landscapes, and frequented Indiana’s Brown County from 1907 to 1912, working out of doors with Charles Dahlgreen and others. From his home base in Chicago, he traveled extensively, painting not only in Brown County, but also in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, where he co-founded the Society of Ozark Painters. He eventually moved to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina in 1925 and became known as the Painter of the Smokies. He was instrumental in persuading the U.S. government to make the Smokies a national park.

Ingerle maintained a studio in Chicago, and served as president of the Chicago Society of Painters for many years. The Westinghouse corporation commissioned him to create paintings for the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress, including Fountain and Searchlights. Despite his traditional outlook, Ingerle tackled the fair’s celebration of modern technology head-on and produced a modernist composition in which sharp angles of bright floodlights crisscross above a flurry of water from the fountain below, and silhouetted forms of spectators line the lower edge. The small canvas boldly captures the magic of electricity as the fair ushered in a new landscape of modernity.

Lisa Meyerowitz


Bulliet, C. J. “Artists of Chicago Past and Present, No. 23: Rudolph Ingerle.” Chicago Daily News, July 27, 1935.

Greenhouse, Wendy, and Susan Weininger. Chicago Painting 1895 to 1945: The Bridges Collection. Exh. cat. Springfield: University of Illinois Press with the Illinois State Museum, 2004.

Greenhouse, Wendy. “Rudolph Ingerle.” In Chicago Modern, 1893–1945: Pursuit of the New, edited by Elizabeth Kennedy, 123. Chicago: Terra Museum of American Art, 2004.

Greenhouse, Wendy. “Rudolph Ingerle.” M. Christine Schwartz Collection.

Ingerle, Rudolph. Pamphlet file P 11702. Ryerson Library. Art Institute of Chicago.

Artist Image: My Friend Ingerle, undated / Carl Krafft. Unlocated painting reproduced in Art Institute of Chicago, The Catalogue of the Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity at the Art Institute of Chicago January 25 to February 28 1921 (1921).

Works by Rudolph Ingerle