Gunnar Widforss: Painter of the National Parks Presented by Alan Petersen and Elizabeth Black. In that era of dramatic social change and artistic fervor, Swedish-born painter Gunnar Widforss spent thirteen years creating an unrivaled body of work documenting the beauty of the American West. He painted with determination to capture his vision, and then he died suddenly at the Grand Canyon at the age of 55. In his commitment to the truth and beauty of his subject, Widforss never resorted to sentimental or romanticized depictions, so prevalent in depictions of western subjects. He may be viewed as one of the greatest artists to paint the West and his obscurity is a paradox.