Albert F. King (1854-1945)
Spring Landscape with Stream, c. 1925
Watercolor and gouache on board, 10 ¼" x 14 ¼"
Collection of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA
Gift of The Elizabeth Braun Estate, 1987.131

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Albert Francis King (1854-1945)
Revered as one of Pittsburgh's premier portrait artists well into his eighties, Albert F. King is now remembered mostly for his meticulously realistic still life works, such as watermelons with a wedge missing, apples falling from a basket or strawberries spilling out of a chip basket.

Born in 1854, King was the product of Catholic parents forced to flee Germany to escape religious persecution. When they arrived in Pittsburgh, they changed their last name from Konig to King to avoid any further religious bias against Catholics. As an artist, their son was primarily self-taught, although he did study for a time under fellow Scalp Level School member Martin Leisser. Much in demand as a portrait painter by the prominent citizens of Pittsburgh, he painted many notables including Stephen Foster, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick—although he rarely showed those works in public.

Except for a period of two years spent in Omaha, Nebraska in the mid-1930s, King worked in Pittsburgh his entire life. A 1938 Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph interview notes: "Today, at 83, the Pittsburgh painter [King] is still one to whom many turn to for portrait work. His hand is just as steady, his ability to secure a likeness just as infallible." A member of the Pittsburgh Art Society and the Pittsburgh Art Association, King enjoyed a long and fruitful career, of which his landscapes were but a small fraction of his work, varying in quality and perhaps overshadowed by his better known colleagues.

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