Friday, June 14, 2013

William Trost Richards in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The first American drawings acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art were by William Trost Richards (1833-1905), an artist associated with both the Hudson River School and the American Pre-Raphaelite movement. A number of these early acquisitions - donated to the Metropolitan in 1880 by the Reverend Elias Lyman Magoon - were displayed at the Museum this spring, along with recent significant acquisitions and works from a loan collection of Richards's miniatures. William Trost Richards in The Metropolitan Museum of Art was on display February 13-May 13, 2001

Born in Philadelphia in 1833, William Trost Richards studied in Florence, Rome, and Paris before settling in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was recognized initially for his landscapes - especially of the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine - but turned his attention to the sea beginning in about 1867. A leading artist of the American Watercolor Society, Richards was esteemed for helping lift the medium into higher prominence.

The exhibition at the Metropolitan featured works representing the entire range of subjects for which Richards was known. Noteworthy among his early works was


a delicate drawing from 1855 which was acquired recently by the Museum.

Landscapes from the E. L. Magoon gift of 1880 included the watercolors

Moonlight on Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire (1873)

and Lake Squam from Red Hill (1874).

Among Richards's luminous and highly realistic paintings of the sea was the watercolor

A Rocky Coast (1877).

Complementing the works in watercolor, graphite, and ink from the Museum's collection were selections from a private collection of Richards's charming postcard-size watercolors of landscape and marine subjects in Pennsylvania, New England, and the British Isles.

Indian Summer, 1875, Oil on canvas, 24 1/8 x 20 inches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900 (25.110.6))

The exhibition was organized by Kevin J. Avery, Associate Curator, Department of American Paintings and Sculpture.