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Nineteenth Century Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

March 5 - May 2, 2004


An exhibition of nineteenth century American paintings will be on view in the Kerstein Gallery of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown from March 5 through May 2, 2004. Drawn from the Museum's Permanent Collection, the show will include portraits, landscapes and marine scenes. Artists Thomas Moran, Frederic E. Church, Harriet Cany Peale, Thomas Sully and Alfred Bricher will be represented. (right: F. Childe Hassam, White House, Gloucester)

Stunning landscapes including several works from renowned Hudson River School artists will be on view including, Encampment in the Redwoods, by Jules Tavernier, on loan from a private collector, Scene on Catskill Creek, 1847, by Frederic E. Church and A Mountain Pool, 1863 by John Kensett. Other beautiful landscape vistas will include Childe Hassam's impressionistic canvas White House, Gloucester, given to the Museum by its founders, Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Singer, Jr. of Olden, Norway and Songo River, Maine, an 1865 oil by James Fairman donated by Dr. Richard D. Robbins of Baltimore, Maryland in memory of Mrs. Betty Sumner Michael.

Hassam was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of a wealthy Boston merchant. His formal art training began in Boston under Ignaz Marcel Gaugengigl. After working as a wood engraver and illustrator, he continued his studies at the Academie Julian in Paris under Boulanger and Lefebvre. During his stay in France, Hassam fell under the unfluence of the Impressionists. Upon returning from Europe in 1889, Hassam settled in New York and continued to work both as a painter and an illustrator, doing most of his work in the New England area. He became a member of the National Academy of Design in 1902 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1920. Hassam was a founding member of "The Ten," a group of Boston and New York painters who rebelled against the prevailing art and promoted their Impressionistic works, giving birth to the American Impressionism Movement. (left: Thomas Sully, Portrait of Daniel Webster)

Tumultuous waves, rocky coastlines, raging seas and battered ships will be seen in works such as Puritan & Priscilla by James Buttersworth, a gift of Mr. Sidney A. Levyne of Pikesville, Maryland, The U. S. Monitor Weehawken in a Gale off the Coast of Virginia, by James Hamilton and Early Morning Effects, 1889 by Alfred Bricher.

Born near Belfast, Ireland, Hamilton emigrated to America when he was 15 years old, settling in Philadelphia. In 1839, he set up his studio as a landscape and seascape artist and a teacher of drawing. The young artist began to exhibit his work about 1840, first in Philadelphia and ultimately in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Boston and New York. Hamilton became known for the extraordinary imaginativeness that he brought to American marine painting. He was capable of painting both identifiable coastal scenes and highly inventive visions. Hamilton's loose accents of light and his silvery colors became his special style, one appreciated by two of his pupils, the highly regarded marine painters, Thomas and Edward Moran.

Portraits included in the exhibition will feature Woman at the Window by Harriet Cany Peale, a gift of the William Eliason Pennington Art Fund, Charles Loring Elliott's Portrait of Henry Van Schaick, Portrait of Ada by Robert Bogle, donated by Mr. and Mrs. George M. Durrett of Owings Mills, Maryland, Edmund Pendleton, 1844 by Philadelphia artist Samuel Waugh, a gift of the Philip A. Rauth Memorial Fund and Portrait of Daniel Webster by Thomas Sully, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Louis E. Shecter of Baltimore, Maryland. (right: Harriett Cany Peale, Woman at the Window)

Sully was born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England and emigrated with his family to Charleston, South Carolina in 1792. His first art teacher was his brother Lawrence, and later, he studied in London under Gilbert Stuart and Benjamin West. In 1801, Sully launched himself in an art career in Virginia, painting portraits in both Norfolk and Richmond. Four years later, he married his brother's widow and the couple moved to New York City, then to New England. By 1808, Sully returned to Philadelphia where he soon became the leading portrait painter in that city. In order to fulfill his commissions, he traveled to the major cities of the East Coast. The artist died in Philadelphia having painted more than 2,600 portraits. Six of his children also became artists. (left: Frederic E. Church, Scene on Catskill Creek)

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