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    Description

    JOHN WILLIAM HILL (American 1812-1879)
    Pre-Raphaelite Rock Study
    Watercolor on paper
    4.5in. x 3.75in. (sight with arched top)
    Signed lower right: J.W. Hill

    A beautiful example of John William Hill's mastery of the difficult medium of watercolor, Pre-Raphaelite Rock Study was painted in his characteristic stipple technique, brushwork that enabled him to achieve brilliant color with a high degree of detail in his Pre-Raphaelite works.

    Hill was born in London, England, the son of the engraver John Hill. His family immigrated to America in 1819, initially settling in Philadelphia. Four years later, they moved to New York City where Hill began his artistic training as apprentice under his father for the next seven years. During this time, Hill worked on aquatint prints for William Guy Wall's Hudson River Portfolio (1820-1825) and his work from this period greatly resembled Wall's style.

    He began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design in 1828 and in 1833 he traveled to London to study old master paintings. That same year he was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design, where he exhibited regularly. From 1836 to 1841, Hill was a topographical artist for the New York State Geological Survey and created many images for two of their natural history publications. He was later employed by Smith Brothers of New York City to paint watercolor views of many American cities that were published as lithographs.

    He made extensive trips throughout New England and upstate New York. During one of these trips around 1855, he read John Ruskin's Modern Painters, which advised "the earnest loving study of God's work of nature" as the basis of the reform of painting. Profoundly impacted by Ruskin's writing and the Pre-Raphaelite philosophy, Hill changed the direction and style of his painting. From this point on he devoted himself to working directly from nature. Hill executed detailed pictures of birds' nests and animals, as well as closely observed paintings of wildflowers, rocks, gardens, and landscapes, executed with a keen focus on minutiae.

    An active member of the art community, Hill was one of the founding members of the New York Watercolor Society. By 1860, he was a close friend of Pre-Raphaelite painter Thomas C. Farrer; by 1863, Hill was elected President of the Association for the Advancement of Truth in Art, a group dedicated to Ruskinian and Pre-Raphaelite ideals.

    His later paintings were completed around West Nyack, New York where he lived with his father from 1838, and where he remained until his death in 1879. In 1888, he was posthumously honored in a work titled An Artists Memorial, written and illustrated by his artist-son, John Henry Hill. Hill exhibited extensively at the National Academy of Design between 1829 and 1879, and at the Brooklyn Art Association between 1862 and 1884. His work can be found in prestigious collections and institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; New-York Historical Society, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and the Thyssen-Bornamisza Collection, Lugano, Switzerland.

    Condition: excellent


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2004
    31st Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 567

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