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date: 12 November 2019

Church, Frederic Edwinlocked

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

Extract

(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....

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