Lars Gustaf Sellstedt was born in Sundsvall, Sweden, on April 30, 1819, the son of Eric Sellstedt and Eva Thorén. He had two sisters, Christina Wilhelmina and Martha Lovisa, and one half-sister, Johanna Sofia. In 1831, he left for Stockholm, where he joined the crew of a merchant ship, and in 1834, he joined the crew of the New York-based Prudent . As a sailor on the Prudent and other ships, he traveled to the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific, and Africa. In May 1842, Sellstedt moved to Buffalo, New York, where he studied art; he continued to work on ships in the Great Lakes until around 1846, when he gave up sailing for a career as a painter. Sellstedt became a notable artist and helped establish the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, founded in 1862; he served as its president from 1876-1877. His published works include an autobiography, From Forecastle to Academy (1904), and Art in Buffalo (1910). On January 19, 1850, Sellstedt married Louise Lovejoy, who died soon thereafter. On June 11, 1856, he married Caroline Scott (1826-1909), the daughter of Dr. William K. Scott and Mary Gay. Their children included William Scott (September 13, 1858-September 30, 1869) and Eva (1862-1945), who married physician Frank Hamilton Potter (1860-1891) in 1887. Eva and Frank Potter had at least two sons, Lars Sellstedt and Frank. Lars Gustaf Sellstedt died on June 4, 1911.