Painter Gustav Wolff was born in Germany on March 28,1863. He came to America in 1866. His family settled in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he received his first formal training.

By the later 1880s a landscape school was beginning to form in Saint Louis that would become the city’s most distinctive artistic feature. It’s members stressed poetic mood over topographical naturalism. Among them was Sylvester Annan, a Paris trained painter of tonal landscapes, and, more important, Paul Cornoyer. Born in Saint Louis, Cornoyer studied at the School of Fine Arts in 1881, and later was recognized as the leader of the movement.

Gustav Wolff, a student of the School of Fine Arts, and especially of Cornoyer, followed his teacher as a specialist in tonal landscapes. And Wolff, who remained a major landscapist in Saint Louis, was the teacher of Arthur Mitchell, also a delineator of poetic landscapes in the early twentieth century and long time resident of that city.