Biografie von William Trost RICHARDS (1833-1905)

Birth place: Philadelphia

Death place: Newport, RI

Addresses: Phila., PA; Newport, RI, from 1890

Profession: Marine, landscape painter

Studied: Phila. with Paul Weber, 1850; maybe at PAFA, c.1852; Florence, Rome, Paris, all during 1853-56 (traveling with William Stanley Haseltine & Alexander Lawrie).

Exhibited: PAFA Ann.,1852-1905 (silver medal, 1885); NAD, 1858-1905; Brooklyn AA, 1863-85; Paris Salon, 1873; Centenn. Exhib., Phila., 1876 (medal); Boston AC, 1878, 1882-86, 1898; Paris Expo, 1889 (medal); Royal Acad., London; AIC

Member: PAFA, 1853; Assn. Advancement of Truth in Art, 1868; Royal Acad., London; NA, 1871; AWCS

Work: Brooklyn Mus.; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME; Cooper-Hewitt Museum, NYC; CGA; MMA; Newark (NJ) Mus.; Shelburne (VT) Mus.

Comments: While studying painting privately with Paul Weber, he worked as an illustrator for a Philadelphia company producing gas lamp fixtures and exhibited his first landscapes at PAFA in 1852. In 1855, he traveled with Wm. S. Haseltine and Paul Weber to Dusseldorf, studying, and meeting Leutze and Bierstadt. He also traveled to France and Italy before returning to Philadelphia in 1856, marrying and settling in Germantown (until 1881). From 1856-66, he was preoccupied with landscapes, and his attention to detail reveals a Ruskinian concern with truth to nature and the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites (whose work was exhibited in Phila. in 1858). Richards visited Britain in 1866-67 and by the 1870s he had increasingly turned to the marine paintings (in oils and watercolors) for which he is now best known. In 1874 he bought his first of several houses in Newport, and painted around Aquidneck and Conanicut until his death. During his later years he also made frequent trips to the British Isles and the Channel Islands.

Sources: G&W; Morris, Masterpieces of the Sea: William T. Richards, a Brief Outline of His Life and Art; DAB; Art Annual, VI, obit.; Rutledge, PA; Cowdrey, NAD; Rutledge, MHS; Phila. CD 1854-60+; Portfolio (April 1945), 190-91; WW04; Baigell, Dictionary; Muller, Paintings and Drawings at the Shelburne Museum, 119 (w/repro.); Rbt. Workman, The Eden of America (RISD, 1986, p.58); Fink, American Art at the Nineteenth-Century Paris Salons, 384; Falk, Exh. Record Series.

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