American, 1823-1894

"Sun Setting Over Mountain Stream", 1864

oil on canvas
signed and dated lower left "Wm. Hart 64"
16 1/2 x 26 1/4 inches

  • Provenance: Christie's East, New York, New York, April 9, 1998, lot 16; Private Collection, Georgia.
  • Literature: Gary L. Stiles, "William Hart: Catalogue Raisonné and Artistic Biography", (Hart Editions, 2020), 181, no. 333.

    Framed dimensions: 26 1/4 x 36 1/8 x 4 inches

    William Hart lived for nine years at his birthplace of Paisley, Scotland, before his family immigrated to the United States in 1831 and settled in Albany, New York. He began his artistic career humbly, painting carriages and window shades, but by the age of 18 he had become an itinerant portrait painter, traveling as far afield as Virginia and Michigan.

    This journeyman's lifestyle ultimately disagreed with Hart; he fell ill in 1849 and left for Scotland to recuperate. In 1852 he returned to the United States committed to landscape painting and soon made a name for himself, becoming an associate of the National Academy of Design upon opening a studio in New York in 1854. William and his brother James M. Hart painted in a Hudson River School style winning praise from critics and patronage from important collectors.

    From the 1850s into the 1870s Hart was a prominent personality in the New York art world. He was elected a National Academician in 1858 and was a founding member and president of both the Brooklyn Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society. In addition to his enduring presence at National Academy exhibitions from 1848 until his death in 1894, Hart exhibited at the American Art-Union from 1847 to 1849, the Boston Athenaeum from 1855 to 1864, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1854 to 1867, and the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861 to 1883.

    The present lot, Sun Setting Over Mountain Stream, is one of a group of at least six autumn scenes painted by Hart in the mid-1960s, likely in the northeast region of New Hampshire. In this painting, there is no evidence of human intervention or the development of civilization. The sun, peeking through the clouds, hints towards Luminist painting.1

    Major museums that house Hart's work include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New-York Historical Society, and National Academy of Design, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

    1 Gary L. Stiles, "William Hart: Catalogue Raisonné and Artistic Biography", (Hart Editions, 2020), 181, no. 333.

    Tags: oil painting, New England, listed artist, 19th century, New Hampshire, White Mountains
  • Condition: overall very good condition; scattered very minor craquelure, some with corresponding inpaint; lined canvas

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE. 

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