American, 1833-1905

Seascape - Coast of Maine, 1887

oil on canvas
signed and dated lower right "Wm. T. Richards 1887"
19 x 32 inches

  • Provenance: Private Collection.

    Framed dimensions: 24 3/4 x 37 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches

    William Trost Richards' paintings of the New England coastline have set the standard for excellence in American seascape painting. His luminist views from Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts dramatically capture waves crashing against rocks or calm rolling seas. He often visited his favorite beaches, painting in Cape Ann, Newport, New Jersey, Maine and Conanicut Island on numerous visits.

    Richards was born in Philadelphia in 1833. He abandoned his formal education at age 13 to work and help support his family. He pursued painting privately, studying under William Stanley Haseltine and Paul Weber in Philadelphia. Wealthy patrons supported his continued study in Europe where Hiram Powers, Emanuel Leutze, Frederick Church, John Kensett and Albert Bierstadt had traveled. By the 1850s, Richards was an established landscape artist exhibiting at Knoedler galleries and supported mainly by private commissions from his friend and patron, Asa Whitney.

    In 1882, Richards built a summer cottage on the southernmost heights of Conanicut Island, which looks across Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay towards Newport. He called his cottage "Gray Cliff", reflecting both the spectacular geological formations of the sea-washed coast and the predominant hue of summer fog and haze. For the next twenty years, Conanicut, with its alternating views of rocky cliffs and gentle harbors, became Richards' favored in both oil and watercolor.

    In the later part of his career, Richards became a devoted seascape painter. His best paintings, as in the present lot, capture the light and atmosphere of the scene. He accomplished this by making numerous watercolor studies painted on-site en plein air. In the present lot, Richards captures the mix of sunlight and gray clouds. The birds and the distant boats indicate the precise moment when the winds have picked up in advance of a coming storm.

    Richards was a member of the National Academy of Design. His works are represented in many public institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, The Corcoran Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Newark Museum among others.

    Tags: oil painting, New England, listed artist, 19th century, marine / coastal / seascape
  • Condition: In overall very good to excellent condition; wax lined canvas; a few very minor dots of restoration apparent under UV

    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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October 27, 2022 6:00 PM EDT
Milford, CT, US


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