DescriptionThe Hon. Paul H. Buchanan, Jr. Collection
WILLIAM TROST RICHARDS (American, 1833-1905)
Graycliff, the Artist's Home, Newport, Rhode Island, 1882
Watercolor on paper
10 x 14 inches (25.4 x 35.6 cm)
Signed and dated lower right: Wm. T. Richards 1882
Purchased from Beacon Hill Fine Art, New York, April 24, 1997 (label verso).
"William Trost Richards: Rediscovered. Oils, Watercolors, and Drawings from the Artist's Family," November 29, 1996 - January 11, 1997, Beacon Hill Fine Art in association with Jill Newhouse, New York.
L.S. Ferber, William Trost Richards: Rediscovered. Oils, Watercolors, and Drawings from the Artist's Family, exh. cat., New York, 1996, ill. in color p. 13; full-page detail p. 11.
During the latter part of his career, William Trost Richards was firmly established as a coastal and marine painter. He extensively explored the northeastern coast of the United States from New Jersey to Maine each summer from the the later 1860s through the mid 1870s, and produced sensitive watercolors of the scenery and the small coastal towns. His special fascination was with "the geological complexities of heavily eroded, rugged coastlines," and as Linda Ferber has noted, this artistic interest "undoubtedly played a role in taking him to England in 1878 for a two-year sojourn."
It was not until after his return from England that Richards decided to buy a permanent residence at his favorite spot on the Rhode Island coast around Newport and Jamestown. In 1882, he designed and built a Shingle-style house and studio on Conanicut Island at Jamestown, which he called Graycliff. Perched on the top of the rocky bluff, Graycliff commanded a spectacular view of the Narragansett Bay and Newport. In this careful "portrait" of Graycliff, the main subject is not the view of the bay but rather the incredible craggy geography of Graycliff's "front yard."
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