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Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in the United States.

Born 7 January 1830 , in Solingen, near Düsseldorf; died 18 February 1902 , in New York.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman, illustrator, photographer. Figures, local figures, landscapes with figures, landscapes, waterscapes, mountainscapes, urban landscapes, seascapes, animals, insects...

Article

Nancy Anderson

(b Solingen, Germany, Jan 7, 1830; d New York, Feb 18, 1902).

American painter of German birth. In a career spanning the entire second half of the 19th century, Bierstadt emerged as the first technically sophisticated artist to travel to the Far West of America, adapt European and Hudson River School prototypes to a new landscape and produce paintings powerful in their nationalistic and religious symbolism.

Bierstadt spent his early years in New Bedford, MA, where his family settled two years after his birth. Lacking funds for formal art instruction, he spent several years as an itinerant drawing instructor before departing in 1853 for Düsseldorf, Germany, where he hoped to study with Johann Peter Hasenclever, a distant relative and a celebrated member of the Düsseldorf art circle. Hasenclever’s death shortly before Bierstadt’s arrival altered the course of his study, for rather than finding German mentors, he responded to the generous assistance offered by fellow American artists Emanuel Leutze and Worthington Whittredge. After four years of study and travel in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, he had achieved a remarkable level of technical expertise. In ...

Article

British, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 1779, in London; died 1851, in Philadelphia.

Painter. Portraits, landscapes, winter landscapes, seascapes, naval battles.

Hudson River School.

Thomas Birch settled in the United States around 1793 and initially painted portraits. He later moved on to the depiction of scenes from the ...

Article

Lauretta Dimmick

(b New York, Oct 15, 1847; d Elizabethtown, NY, Aug 9, 1919).

American painter. One of the most important visionary artists in late 19th-century America, Blakelock was self-taught as a painter. From 1867 he was exhibiting landscapes in the style of the Hudson River school at the National Academy of Design in New York. Rather than going abroad for advanced training, like most of his contemporaries, he spent the years 1869–72 in the western USA. Back in New York, Blakelock evolved his personal style during the 1870s and 1880s. Eschewing literal transcriptions of nature, he preferred to paint evocative moonlit landscapes such as Moonlight (Washington, DC, Corcoran Gal. A.). These paintings, almost never dated, often included campfires or solitary figures, but such elements were absorbed into the setting rather than being the painting’s focus, as in Moonlight Indian Encampment (Washington, DC, N. Mus. Amer. A.). Blakelock’s images, imbued with a melancholy that had been evident even in his early work, drew on his deeply felt response to nature....

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 2 February 1814, in Boston; died 25 June 1889, in Malden (Massachusetts).

Painter, engraver (wood/copper). Genre scenes, landscapes, waterscapes.

Hudson River School.

Before going to Europe, where he studied in Paris and Florence, George Loring Brown illustrated children's books in Boston. He later returned to Boston and settled there in ...

Article

John Driscoll

(b New York, June 25, 1811; d Saratoga Springs, NY, Aug 17, 1893).

American engraver, draughtsman and painter. At 15 he was apprenticed to the engraver Peter Maverick (1780–1871) and then to Asher B. Durand. Casilear and his brother George formed a business partnership that eventually developed into the American Bank Note Co., the principal private bank-note engravers in America. He was perhaps the most fluent and accomplished draughtsman of his generation, and important collections of his landscape drawings are in the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Casilear was an exponent of the Hudson River school of landscape painting. Such works as Lake George (1860; Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum) and his views of Genesee Valley, NY, and Niagara Falls manifest the refined colour, restrained brushwork and ordered composition typical of that group. Casilear’s compositions are firmly drawn and articulated through a subtle palette that explores the value and saturation of hues.

In 1833 Casilear was elected an Associate at the National Academy of Design, New York, based on his engravings and in ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 1796, in Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania); died 1872, in Jersey City (New Jersey).

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman, illustrator, lithographer. Portraits, genre scenes, local scenes, hunting scenes, animals, landscapes.

Hudson River School.

George Catlin was educated as a lawyer and practised in Philadelphia for two years. He then turned to art study and became a portrait painter in New York City. In the 1820s he decided that he would make it his life's work to record the life and culture of American Indians living on the Plains and in ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born c. 1807 or 1808, in England; died 1866, in the USA.

Painter. Portraits, landscapes, seascapes.

Hudson River School.

Thomas Chambers arrived in the USA in 1832 and took American nationality. A painter of landscapes and portraits in the Naive style, he seems to have taken his inspiration from engravings of scenes of American life and he became well-known in New York in ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 4 May 1826 , in Hartford (Connecticut); died 7 April 1900 , in New York.

Painter. Landscapes.

Frederic Edwin Church studied under Thomas Cole in Catskill, New York, and was an admirer of J. M. W. Turner. Keeping New York as his base, he made many journeys that provided him with subjects for his painting. When he returned from South America in 1859, he exhibited a painting that caused quite a stir, ...

Article

Franklin Kelly

(b Hartford, CT, May 4, 1826; d New York, April 7, 1900).

American painter. He was a leading representative of the second generation of the Hudson River school, who made an important contribution to American landscape painting in the 1850s and 1860s. The son of a wealthy and prominent businessman, he studied briefly in Hartford with two local artists, Alexander Hamilton Emmons (1816–84) and Benjamin Hutchins Coe (1799–1883). Thanks to the influence of the Hartford patron Daniel Wadsworth, in 1844 he became the first pupil accepted by Thomas Cole. This was an unusual honour, though Cole probably offered little useful technical instruction—he once observed that Church already had ‘the finest eye for drawing in the world’. However, Cole did convey certain deeply held ideas about landscape painting, above all the belief that the artist had a moral duty to address not only the physical reality of the external world but also complex and profound ideas about mankind and the human condition. Church eventually abandoned the overtly allegorical style favoured by his teacher, but he never wavered from his commitment to the creation of meaningful and instructive images....

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 1816; died 1871.

Painter. Waterscapes, seascapes, landscapes.

Hudson River School.

Coates lived in New York City during his active period from 1837 to 1872. Brooklyn and New York City directories from those years list him as Edward, Edmund C., E.C. and E.G. Coates. He painted landscapes of Canada and Italy though it is not known if the artist traveled there or if other works inspired the scenes. He exhibited at the Apollo gallery and association in ...

Article

British, 19th century, male.

Born 1 February 1801, in Bolton-le-Moors (Lancashire), England; died 11 February 1848, near Catskill (New York).

Painter, draughtsman. Landscapes with figures.

Symbolism.

Hudson River School (related to).

Thomas Cole's parents left England when he was 18 and settled in Ohio, where his father became an upholsterer. It is said that he persuaded his father, who had just been bankrupted, to flee from English industrial civilisation to the natural wildness of America. Thomas taught himself to draw, and then left home to seek his fortune in Philadelphia. He initially tried to earn his living as an itinerant portrait painter, a common activity in the early years of American art....

Article

Angela L. Miller

(b Bolton-le-Moor, Lancs, Feb 1, 1801; d Catskill, NY, or 11, 12).

American painter and poet of English birth. Cole was the leading figure in American landscape painting during the first half of the 19th century and had a significant influence on the painters of the Hudson River school, among them Jasper Cropsey, Asher B. Durand and Frederic Church (Cole’s only student). In the 1850s these painters revived the moralizing narrative style of landscape in which Cole had worked during the 1830s. From the 1850s the expressive, Romantic landscape manner of Cole was eclipsed by a more direct and objective rendering of nature, yet his position at the beginning of an American landscape tradition remained unchallenged (for an example of his work, see View on the Catskill—Early Autumn, 1836–37; New York, Met.).

He spent his first 17 years in Lancashire. Industrialized since the 18th century, Lancashire provided a stark contrast to the wilderness Cole encountered when he followed his family to Steubenville, OH, via Philadelphia, in ...

Article

Merrill Halkerston

(b Portland, ME, March 4, 1832; d New York, March 26, 1920).

American painter, interior designer and writer. Colman grew up in New York, where his father, Samuel Colman, ran a successful publishing business. The family bookstore on Broadway, a popular meeting place for artists, offered Colman early introductions to such Hudson River school painters as Asher B(rown) Durand, with whom he is said to have studied briefly around 1850. Having won early recognition for his paintings of popular Hudson River school locations (see Storm King on the Hudson), he was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in New York in 1854. Most of Colman’s landscapes of the 1850s, for example Meadows and Wildflowers at Conway (1856; Poughkeepsie, NY, Vassar Coll., Frances Lehman Loeb A. Cent.), reveal the influence of the Hudson River school. An avid traveller, he embarked on his first European tour in 1860, visiting France, Italy, Switzerland and the more exotic locales of southern Spain and Morocco. His reputation was secured in the 1860s by his numerous paintings of romantic Spanish sites, notably the large ...

Article

William S. Talbot

(b Rossville, Staten Island, NY, Feb 18, 1823; d Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, June 22, 1900).

American painter and architect. Cropsey was a practising architect by 1843, but in that year he also exhibited a landscape painting, to favourable reviews, at the National Academy of Design, in New York. He greatly admired Thomas Cole for his dramatic use of the American landscape, but Cropsey brought to his panoramic vistas a more precise recording of nature, as in View of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey (1845; San Francisco, CA, de Young Mem. Mus.). Such vastness and detail impressed the viewer with both the grandeur and the infinite complexity of nature and indicated a universal order. In 1847 Cropsey made his first trip to Europe, settling in Rome among a circle of American and European painters. His eye for detail in recording nature was encouraged by the Nazarenes, and his American sympathy for historical and literary subjects was sharpened by the antiquities of Italy. In 1848 Cropsey was in Naples, where the work of contemporary painters may have inspired the bold massing, deep space and brilliant lighting in ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 18 February 1823, in Rossville (Staten Island, New York); died 22 June 1900, in Hastings-on-Hudson (New York).

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman, architect. Landscapes.

Hudson River School.

Jasper Francis Cropsey began his career as an architect, but gave up the profession to paint landscapes. He lived in Rome ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 1793, in Philadelphia; died 1856, in New York.

Painter, lithographer. Genre scenes, landscapes.

Hudson River School.

Until the age of 30, Thomas Doughty worked as a currier for a leather merchant. He then studied painting from 1814 to 1820. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in ...

Article

Edward J. Nygren

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 19, 1793; d New York, NY, July 24, 1856).

American painter. Doughty belonged to the generation of American landscape painters that included Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand and was an important precursor of the Hudson River school. Basically self-taught, he worked as a leather currier in Philadelphia, PA, before becoming an artist. In 1816 Doughty exhibited Landscape—Original (untraced) at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Four years later he listed himself in the Philadelphia directory as a landscape painter. Old Master landscapes (or copies) exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy, together with contemporary European paintings and compositions by fellow Philadelphians Thomas Birch and Joshua Shaw, access to major private collections (such as those of his patron Robert Gilmor jr of Baltimore, MD, and Joseph Bonaparte of Bordentown, NJ), engravings, and artists’ manuals all contributed to his knowledge of the European landscape tradition. Among Doughty’s earliest surviving landscapes are View of Baltimore from Beech Hill, the Seat of Robert Gilmor jr...

Article

Joseph D. Ketner II

revised by Wendy Jean Katz

(b Fayette, Seneca County, NY, ?1821; d Detroit, MI, Dec 21, 1872).

African American painter. A self-taught artist and landscape painter of the Hudson River school tradition, Duncanson was the first African American artist to receive international recognition (see fig.). Born into a family of painters and handymen, Duncanson first worked as a house-painter and glazier in Monroe, MI. By 1841 he was in Cincinnati, OH, where he learnt to paint by executing portraits and copying prints. Throughout the 1840s he travelled as an itinerant artist between Cincinnati, Monroe, and Detroit. His early work included portraits, including those of local abolitionists and educators, as well as a few genre subjects and ‘chemical’ paintings for paying exhibition.

Around 1850 Duncanson was awarded his largest commission, the murals for the Cincinnati estate Belmont, formerly the Martin Baum House (now Cincinnati, OH, Taft Mus.), then owned by prominent art patron Nicholas Longworth (1869–1931). These consist of eight landscape panels (2.77×2.21 m each) in ...

Article

J. Gray Sweeney

(b Springfield Township, NJ, Aug 21, 1796; d Maplewood, NJ, Sept 17, 1886).

American painter and engraver. Durand has long been considered a key figure of the Hudson River school of American landscape painting. Durand was born into a working-class family, the eighth of eleven children, in Maplewood, NJ (then called Jefferson Village), and died in his father’s house at age 90. His father was a watchmaker and silversmith, and in 1812 Durand was apprenticed to the engraver Peter Rushton Maverick. Durand achieved his first success by engraving John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence (1823), and he engraved Ariadne (1835) after John Vanderlyn’s painting (1812). He also was commissioned to engrave banknotes. In 1825 he played an important role in organizing the New York Drawing Association, which eventually became the National Academy of Design. He remained active in the Academy’s affairs throughout his career. Durand first began painting in the 1830s, producing portraits of leading historical and literary figures. In ...