Thursday, September 19, 2013
William Trost Richards—True to Nature: Drawings, Watercolors, and Oil Sketches at Stanford University
The exhibition “William Trost Richards—True to Nature: Drawings, Watercolors, and Oil Sketches at Stanford University” opened June 23, 2010 and continued through September 26, 2010 at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The exhibition included 75 drawings, watercolors, and small oil studies made during the 50-year career of one of America’s most famous landscape artists.”
Born in Philadelphia in 1833, Richards was a nature lover, whose romantic sensibilities informed his meticulously factual representations. His paintings of the Adirondacks and other East Coast sites place him among the artists of the Hudson River School, painters who rendered the natural world in panoramic canvases of precise detail and finished surface. His close study of nature led Richards to make hundreds of pencil sketches of trees, rocks, and plants. His nature studies were influenced by John Ruskin, the British art critic whose doctrine of truth to nature found ready acceptance in the New England climate of Emerson and Thoreau.
In the 1870s, when landscape painting in the Hudson River School style was going out of fashion, Richards turned instead to marine and coastal subjects. Watercolor became a favored medium, and Richards developed a masterful technique reflective of the overall development of watercolor in American art. Collectors treasured his luminous scenes of surf rolling onto the sandy beaches of Rhode Island near Richards’s summer home on Conanicut Island, or crashing against the rocks of Cornwall, where he often painted. The mythic castle of King Arthur on the cliffs of Tintagel was another favorite subject.
William Trost Richards, Graycliffs, Richards’ Home on Conanicut, 1880s.
Brown wash on board.
Cantor Arts Center collection, Gift of M. J. and A. E. van Löben Sels, 1992.55.84
William Trost Richards
Landscape: Trees and Rocks c. 1870s. Watercolor. Cantor Arts Center collection,
Gift of M. J. and A. E. van Löben Sels, 1992.55.121
William Trost Richards
Watercolor laid down
Cantor Arts Center collection,Gift of M. J. and A. E. van Löben Sels, 1992.55.146
See also: A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards - Newport Art Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (in celebration of a gift of 110 William Trost Richards watercolors)