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Born in Vienna, Austria, Rudolph F. Ingerle came to the United States with his parents when he was twelve years old, eventually settling in Chicago where he had the opportunity to attend Schmidt's Art Academy and later the Art Institute. He studied and sketched the paintings in the Institute's museum collection, and later advocated such careful observation of works of art as the best approach to becoming a great artist. Ingerle allied himself with T. C. Steele and others in forming the Indiana School of painting in Brown County, and then joined the Ozark School which developed shortly thereafter. Around 1920, he decided that he would like to see the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and found the area so inspiring that after his initial visit he returned several months of each year for the rest of his life. He often based himself at Bryson City on the Tuckaseegee River. His landscapes of the area as well as his penetrating character studies of the mountain earned him the appellation, "Painter of the Smokies." Ingerle responded with awe and reverence to the Great Smoky Mountains, and his paintings are a legacy to a way of life which has all but vanished, and to a landscape which remains as beautiful as it was when the artist first saw it. Thanks to his personal efforts as well as many others, the Great Smoky Mountains became a national park.
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