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Anton Gag

Anton Gag Painting - Attack On New Ulm by Anton Gag

Attack On New Ulm

Anton Gag (born Anton Gaag in Walk, Tachau, June 12, 1859 – New Ulm, May 22, 1908) was a Bohemian-American painter and studio photographer known for his portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and murals. He spent most of his working life in Minnesota.[1][2]


Anton Gag was born in Walk (now Valcha) a hamlet of 15 homes in the county of Tachau (Tachov), in Bohemia, then a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in the Czech Republic. He seemed to fit the stereotype of the "Bohemian artist"— pursuing an artistic talent that did not earn him much money, allowing his children much freedom, and non-conforming in his personal behavior. Indeed, his life and art were formed by the liberal humanist values of the German-Bohemian culture.

Anton came to the United States in 1873 and settled in New Ulm, an immigrant community in southern Minnesota. In 1886 he married Ida Berndt who died the next year of complications from child birth.[3] Their infant daughter died a month later. In 1892 he married Elizabeth Biebl, with whom he began raising a family of seven children in the German tradition.[4] In 1894, Anton built a Queen-Anne style family home that he decorated with murals, and which was used as a photographic studio. He also painted canvases and decorated homes and churches throughout Southern Minnesota. His 1904 painting depicting one of the Battles of New Ulm is displayed in the Minnesota State Capitol.

Anton died in New Ulm in 1908 from tuberculosis at the age of 49.

His most famous child, Wanda Gág (who added the accent to her name) became a celebrated author and artist.

Gag Family Home

The house where the Gag family lived is now dedicated to the story of this family, showing examples of their art and the way of life in those years. The exterior of the house has been painted in the original colors used when the Gags lived there. The interior is also being restored to that time period. The process has uncovered detailed, decorative hand-painting done by the Gags, on walls throughout the home.

The Wanda Gág House, located at 226 N. Washington, New Ulm, Minnesota, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open for public tours.


Yearbook of German-American Studies -2003 - Volume 38 - Page 333 "Born in Walk, Bohemia in 1858, Anton Gag (originally Gaag) emigrated to the United States in 1873 and settled in New Ulm around 1879. Already an island of German and German-Bohemian culture, the city proved an ideal haven for the ..."
Gwenyth Swain Wanda Gág: Storybook Artist 2005 - Page 85 "Chronology 1858 Anton Gag, Wanda Gag's father, is born in Walk, Bohemia. 1869 Elizabeth (Lissi) Biebl, Wanda Gag's mother, is born to a German-Bohemian family living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 1886 Anton marries Ida Berndt on May 4 ..."

Artist, USA


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