George Peter (1859 - 1950)

Birth date: 11/14/1859 Death date: 6/26/1950  
Birth location: Vienna, Austria Death location: Milwauke, Wisconsin  
Media: Mural , Painting , Painting / Oil Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief gives birth & death dates, 1860, 1943.
Member of the Milwaukia Empire of Schlaraffia, Knighted and named Rosa de Bonheur.  At least two of his paintings are still hanging at "Badger Castle", (Water Street) Milwaukee, WI.


George Peter
Born 1859 in Vienna, Austria
Died 1950 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The son of a tailor, Peter began studying art when he was seventeen and soon won a three-year scholarship to study at the Imperial Art School in his native Vienna. He also studied in Germany at the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Munich and Karlsruhe Art Academy.  

Peter came to the United States in 1886. He was commissioned by Lohr & Heine to work for the American Panorama Company on the "Battle of Atlanta," "Jerusalem on the Day of the Crucifixion," and "Christ’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem." After his association with the American Panorama Company, he worked as a scenery painter for the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. In 1898, after the Spanish-American War, Peter went to San Francisco to work on "The Battle of Manilla Bay" with Milwaukee artists Franz Biberstein, F. W. Heine, August Lohr and Franz Rohrbeck. In 1903, Peter and Heine went to Jerusalem  to work on a series of murals that were exhibited the following year at the Louisana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. He had previously exhibited large paintings at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. The only panorama made in Milwaukee that is known to exist in the United States today is the “Battle of Atlanta” which is on view in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1901 Peter was one of the founding members of the Society of  Milwaukee Artists. In 1913 they changed their name to Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors and later were known as Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors / Wisconsin Artists in All Media. September 1, 2008 they became known as Wisconsin Visual Artists.

For several years, he had a studio in the Birchard Block on Grand Avenue in Milwaukee where Herman Michalowski and Robert Schade also had studios. During this period, he sometimes painted landscapes and also did mural decorations for several local restaurants. Some paintings he did with Schade can still be seen in the restaurant of the Turner Hall in Milwaukee. He began a long association with the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1912, and in 1923 he became the museum’s Art Director and head of the Department of Murals. In 1923 he was the scenic artist for the Pabst Theater. Before retiring in 1940 he participated in numerous anthropological, archeological and ethnographical museum expeditions abroad.

Selected Group Exhibitions

1902 Third Exhibition - Society of Milwaukee Artists, Milwaukee Public Library
Chicago Annual Exhibition, Art Institute of Chicago 
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin, Collecting the Art of Wisconsin: The Early Years 
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