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Landscape with Mountains

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Landscape with Mountains

Artist: John William Hill (English, 1812-1879; active United States, after 1819)

Date: 1850-1859
Medium: Oil on paper mounted on cardboard
Overall: 3 9/16 × 6 15/16in. (9 × 17.6cm)
Image: 2 1/2 × 5 7/8in. (6.4 × 14.9cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 87.19
Label Text
John W. Hill was a leading exponent of American pre-Raphaelitism, which flourished in the mid-19th century. The movement had its origins in the writings of the influential English art critic, John Ruskin, who regarded art as an expression of morality and urged artists to pursue "truth" by painting nature out-of-doors, with extreme fidelity and bright colors. Under the influence of Ruskin's book, Modern Painters, Hill stopped painting pictures with large brush strokes and broad washes of color. The Ruskinian-inspired technique he adopted can be seen in the 1868 painting, Fawn's Leap, Catskill, NY, which is displayed at the south end of this gallery.

This jewel-like oil sketch, Landscape with Mountains, is not dated, and there is no inscription on the front or back that identifies the location depicted. Its small size suggests it might have been painted out-of-doors. The panoramic scene, which belies its diminutive size, might be a view of the Conway Valley of New Hampshire with the White Mountains in the distance. Hill is known to have traveled there in the 1860s. This area rivaled the Hudson River Valley in popularity among mid-century American artists.


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