A 19th-Century Landscape Painting Appraisal

Brighter, bolder colors show the evolution of landscape art



Your 19th-century landscape painting is an example of the Hudson River School of painting and was inspired by the work of the noted artist Thomas Chambers (1808-1866). The Hudson River School refers to a group of landscape painters from the mid-1800s who were greatly influenced by Romanticism, an aesthetic movement that started in Europe and influenced everything from music to painting. This artistic movement embraced mood, emotion and imagination. With paintings, the artist would instill this style by emphasizing the power and mystery of nature through adding symbolism and not striving to create a realistic view of a landscape, but rather evoking a mood and feeling in its depiction.

This group of Hudson River School artists were so-called because they found great inspiration in the Hudson River Valley in New York where there were spectacular vistas. The group later traveled to the White Mountains in New Hampshire as well as out west. This artwork genre depicted the glory of the American landscape.

Thomas Chambers was a self-taught artist who arrived to New York via England in 1832. He has been referred to as the first American Modernist because his paintings were rendered in a less-traditional style, using bold, bright colors and large more generalized forms with high contrast between dark and light. Most of his paintings were not signed, so many done in his style have been wrongly attributed.

Your painting retains its original gilded wooden frame and was painted in oil on stretched canvas by an artist influenced by Chambers' work in the mid to late 19th century. Although more of a folk art picture, it imbues the spirit of the Hudson River School with the grand mountain in the background, the trees in their fall colors twisting in the wind and the roaring waterfall cutting through the rock, all of which depict the power and might of nature. As your painting is a smaller work, I would value it at $400.

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