Evening on the Schuylkill by Thomas Doughty
Evening on the Schuylkill by Thomas Doughty Evening on the Schuylkill by Thomas Doughty Evening on the Schuylkill by Thomas Doughty
Evening on the Schuylkill by Thomas Doughty

Evening on the Schuylkill by Thomas Doughty

  • American landscape painter Thomas Doughty composed this exceptional view of the Schuylkill River
  • His works display a unique 18th-century aesthetic sensibility on the verge of Romanticism
  • One of the founders of the Hudson River School, he helped influence a generation of painters
  • His works such as this are regarded as important examples of early American landscape painting
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Item No. 30-8866
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Thomas Doughty
1793-1856 | American

Evening on the Schuylkill

Oil on canvas

One of the first American artists to work exclusively as a landscape painter, Thomas Doughty is recognized today as the most important link between early American landscape painting and the Hudson River School. One of the original founding members of the Hudson River School of painters, he helped to influence an entire generation of landscape artists, particularly the great Thomas Cole, who followed him. Evening on the Schuylkill reveals his highly distinctive style - an 18th-century aesthetic sensibility on the verge of Romanticism.

The view itself represents the 135-mile-long Schuylkill River that runs through eastern Pennsylvania to Philadelphia, where it joins the Delaware River. The picturesque region inspired innumerable landscape painters throughout the early 19th century, before painters began to turn to the Hudson River area for their inspiration. Like many of the painters who followed him, Doughty favored bringing a human element into his works, and he does so here through the addition of a cabin in the distance with its windows aglow, suggesting its residents are at home. Their presence in this exceptional view of the Northeast reflects a strong bond between man and nature, which Doughty himself felt throughout his lifetime. It is perhaps this intense connection with the natural world that lends his works such presence and vitality, and the viewer is transported to a different time and place through each and every brushstroke.

Unlike the artists who followed him, Doughty never fully adopted a Romantic vision of nature and the Sublime. In comparison to Thomas Cole's grand and overwhelming landscapes that are imbued with emotion, Doughty's works are more subdued and contemplative, reflecting the distinctive British sensibility of his earlier generation. This technique favors precision and attention to detail over atmosphere, as is revealed by the remarkable draftsmanship of Evening on the Schuylkill.

Born in Philadelphia in 1793, Thomas Doughty was largely self taught, drawing in his free time while working in a tannery during his teenage years. His story is a classic rags to riches tale of American perseverance - through his talent and determination, he became one of the most successful and important artists of his generation. He exhibited his works publicly for the first time in 1816 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Shortly thereafter, he became introduced to the subject of landscape paintings thanks to his access to important public and private collections throughout Philadelphia and Boston. Thanks to this exposure, he dedicated himself entirely to landscape painting by 1820, making a name for himself with his highly detailed scenes of the American Northeast.

His landscapes paintings from the 1820s and 1830s depicting areas in rural New York, Boston, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are considered to be the best of his oeuvre - the present work can be counted among these. Other important paintings from the artist can be found in museums around the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington D.C.), and many others.

Circa 1825

Canvas: 29 1/2" high x 49 7/8" wide
Frame: 32 3/4" high x 52 7/8" wide
specifications
Period: 1816-1918
Origin:America
Subject:Landscape
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