"Bear Creek, remote even today, is located southeast of Wilkes-Barre. It was made accessible for the first time in 1848 by the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad. The railroad was the essential overland connection between the Lehigh and Susquehanna rivers for the transportation of coal. In Grunewald's painting the loneliness of the place is interrupted by a steam locomotive and clouded by a forest fire. The steam locomotive was a dirty affair, belching smoke and hot cinders from its balloon stack (which was invented to deter the discharge). Sparks from passing trains were constant causes of forest fires in remote areas, fires that would burn until spent. The painting "Scene on Bear Creek, Woods on Fire" is an exceedingly rare record of a common clash of technology and nature."

From: Blume, Peter F. "Gustav Grunewald 1805–1878." Allentown Art Museum Publication, 1992. Pages 22-23.


  • Title: Scene on Bear Creek, Woods on Fire
  • Creator: Gustav Grunewald (German-American, 1805–1878)
  • Date Created: 1848
  • Physical Dimensions: 20 x 30"
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Copyright 2022 Payne Gallery of Moravian University
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Credit: Gift of Artist

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