George Ottinger was born February 8, 1833, to Quaker parents. He joined the Church in June of 1858 upon his mother's request, and moved to Salt Lake City three years later. He entered into partnership with Charles Savage, beginning off by coloring Savage's photographs. He married Mary Jan McAllister Cullin, who died shortly after giving birth to their first son. Ottinger then marred Phoebe Nelsen in 1864. In 1863, he and Savage founded the Deseret Academy of the Arts. Ottinger and Savage dissolved their partnership in 1872 but maintained a close friendship. Ottinger later worked with the fire department, served a mission to England with Savage, painted murals for the St. George, Manti, and Logan temples, and worked as a professor at the University of Deseret. He organized the Utah National Guard in March of 1894. He died October 29, 1917 and was buried in the the Salt Lake City Cemetery.