Essentially unknown outside the Pittsburgh area, during his lifetime and for decades after, David Gilmour Blythe is now recognized as the principal satiric genre painter of nineteenth-century America. Born in East Liverpool, Ohio, into the family of an immigrant Scottish Presbyterian, Blythe grew up with a rigid sense of morality that consistently informed his brutal, grotesque caricatures of contemporary life, in which he used the grimy industrial city of Pittsburgh as a showcase for urban horrors. His personality was contradictory. A staunch Protestant, he married a Catholic. Vociferously Republican, he nevertheless counted prominent Democrats among his close friends. And although a number of his pictures graphically depict the evils of alcohol, Blythe himself finally succumbed to "mania potu," or delirium from drink.