John Caspar Wild

Jul 1, 1804 - Aug 12, 1846

John Caspar Wild was a Swiss-American painter and lithographer. He created early city views and landscapes of Philadelphia; Cincinnati, Ohio; St. Louis, and Davenport. He specialized in hand-colored lithographs. These views, particularly the Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated, were some of the first depictions of the American West.
Wild was born in Richterswil, Canton Zürich, Switzerland. He moved to Paris, France. In 1832, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later moved to St. Louis, Missouri. In summer 1844, he moved a final time, to Davenport, Iowa, a small town in the upper Mississippi River valley. Wild fell gravely ill with tuberculosis in the summer of 1846, and he was taken in by Davenport millinery businessman George L. Webb. On his deathbed, Wild reflected upon his childhood and he yearned to die in his Swiss homeland; it was a wish that was to not be fulfilled. Wild died on August 12, 1846. Wild was laid to rest nearly on the banks of the river, which he had painted for years. Wild’s grave site was unmarked for decades.
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