The son of immigrants, George M. Bruestle was born and raised in New York City. He was trained as an illustrator and employed by Harper’s Bazaar when he enrolled at the Art Students League in 1886. The same year, Bruestle made his first trip to Essex, Connecticut, where he found inspiration in the verdant countryside and sweeping vistas that frame the Connecticut River. He travelled to Paris in 1890, and returned to the United States displaying a newfound impressionist inclination in his palette and brushwork. In 1900, when the Old Lyme Art Colony was officially formed, he was spending time in nearby Hadlyme, Connecticut, and soon became one of the earliest Impressionist painters at the colony.
In 1905 the Bruestles bought a house in the Hamburg section of Lyme. He, his wife, and his son, future artist Bertram Bruestle (1902–1968), spent their summers there while maintaining a winter residence in Manhattan. He was an active member in the artistic communities of both locales, belonging to the Society of American Artists, the National Arts Club, Allied Artists of America, the Salmagundi Club, the Lotos Club, the Lyme Art Association, and Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts. Venues in which he was exhibited include the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Corcoran Gallery, Lyme Art Association, National Academy of Design, Paris Salon of 1895, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.