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Direct from nature : the oil sketches of Thomas Hill

Author: Janice Tolhurst Driesbach; Thomas Hill; William H Gerdts; Crocker Art Museum.
Publisher: Yosemite National Park, Calif. : Yosemite Association in association with Crocker Art Museum, Sacaramento, Calif., ©1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English
Summary:
In his time, Thomas Hill, a British-born painter who worked extensively in the American West during the second half of the nineteenth century, earned favorable comparison with Albert Bierstadt in the East Coast press, and received highest honors for landscape painting at the Philadelphia Centennial. By the late 1860s, his monumental canvases of Yosemite commanded five thousand dollars apiece and attracted national
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Exhibition catalogs
Exhibitions
In art Exhibitions
Named Person: Thomas Hill; Thomas Hill; Thomas (Künstler) Hill; Thomas Hill; Thomas Hill
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Janice Tolhurst Driesbach; Thomas Hill; William H Gerdts; Crocker Art Museum.
ISBN: 0939666847 9780939666843
OCLC Number: 35777438
Notes: Exhibition: Crocker Art Museum, Jan 24.-Mar. 9, 1997.
Description: 126 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
Contents: Direct from nature: The oil sketches of Thomas Hill / Janice T. Driesbach --
The oil sketch in Nineteenth-century American painting / William H. Gerdts.
Responsibility: by Janice T. Driesbach ; with an essay by William H. Gerdts.

Abstract:

In his time, Thomas Hill, a British-born painter who worked extensively in the American West during the second half of the nineteenth century, earned favorable comparison with Albert Bierstadt in the East Coast press, and received highest honors for landscape painting at the Philadelphia Centennial. By the late 1860s, his monumental canvases of Yosemite commanded five thousand dollars apiece and attracted national critical acclaim. Hill is generally associated with those paintings of Yosemite and other grand landscapes and his The Driving of the Last Spike. These large-scale compositions, however, incompletely represent Thomas Hill's talents and enthusiams. Some of the artist's finest achievements are realized in smaller paintings, classified as oil sketches, of subjects as diverse as Newport, Rhode Island, Lake Tahoe in California, and the Pacific Northwest. These modest works attest to Hill's powers of observation, his abilities to render immediate descriptions of his subjects, and his enchantment with his motifs. Oil sketches - usually made on board or paper and under sixteen-by-twenty inches - comprise a significant portion of Thomas Hill's work. Spontaneously executed, they capture the artist's direct responses to nature. As a body they offer immediacy and visual delight, as well as insights into the artist's broad interests and the cultural context in which he worked. And because they represent, in many cases, the only surveying evidence of larger-scale paintings made from them, the oil sketches are key to documenting Hill's career. - excerpted from the essay by Janice T. Driesbach. -- from front cover flap.

This is the first book to draw attention to the remarkable oil sketches of famed landscape artist, Thomas Hill. These smaller pieces, painted in the field directly from nature, represent some of Hill's finest work and include subjects as diverse as Yosemite, the White Mountains, and Alaska. An essay by Janice T. Driesbach details Hill's production of the oil sketches while providing much new valuable information about his life. Driesbach shows how some of the sketches were used as the basis for larger paintings; others re fully-realized works of art in their own right. She contends that Hill, through his small works, helped define an aesthetic for depicting California and broader American landscapes. William H. Gerdts writes about the role that oil sketches played in nineteenth-century American painting. Citing the work of Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Albert Bierstadt, and others, he describes the growth of the legitimacy of the medium. The essays are illustrated with over 90 reproductions (most in full color) of paintings by Thomas Hill and other landscape artists. A chronology of the artist's life and an index have also been added. With its thorough coverage of the subject and key new biographical information about Thomas Hill, Direct from Nature is a landmark work. It is sure to appeal to a wide audience including art historians, students of California history, and lovers of Western landscape art. -- from back cover.

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