|American Paintings — William Stanley Haseltine - Country Road|
|William Stanley Haseltine - Country Road
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Framed size 27 1/4 x 39 inches
Signed and dated: W. S. Haseltine 1861
The 1800s were the century of landscape painting and the period in which America used the genre to find her identity. The variety and magnificence of her scenery lent itself beautifully to this field of painting and artists were quick to respond. In the East, the painters of the Hudson River School established and fostered the development of American landscape painting and in the West, an artists colony was established at Taos.
Associated with the former school is the painter, William Stanley Haseltine. Born into an artistic Philadelphia family in 1835, Haseltine studied there under the direction of the German artist Paul Weber from the age of 15. Weber, who was deeply steeped in the Romantic movement already apparent in Europe instilled the same sentiments in the work of his young protégé, as can be seen in the painting presently offered.
After graduating from Harvard in 1854, William Haseltine followed Weber to Germany, where he studied in Düsseldorf. He became a core member of the American group of painters that had been drawn to the city's academy to study. These included Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford and Worthington Whittredge whom he accompanied on a sketching trip down the Rhine and into Italy in 1857. Upon their return to America, these artists were to become key figures in the Hudson River School and Haseltine joined them in establishing a studio at the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York. His work quickly received acclaim and shortly after his return in 1858 he was elected to the National Academy of Design. In the following years, he painted his finest pictures including this painting Country Road.
Country Road is related to a 1860 drawing entitled New England Landscape and is most probably the product of a sketching trip Haseltine took to Lenox, Massachusetts, and to the Delaware River Valley in Northwestern New Jersey during the Summer and Fall of 1860. It is a spectacular example of his painting and reveals the hallmarks of this painter's work. Haseltine's German training endowed him with a precise sense of line and his style is marked by an extraordinary attention to detail. His remarkable sense of light brings his painting to life and reflects his training in the Luminist tradition. As can be seen in this particular work, his inland landscapes rely upon conscientious observations of nature to produce a crisp, true rendering of a scene.
In 1866, William Stanley Haseltine returned to Europe, studying for a time with barbizon landscape painters in Paris before settling in Rome. Haseltine remained here until his death in 1900, making occasional trips to the United States. Like other expatriates, Haseltine produced Italian landscapes for the American market and in these late paintings, he replaced the cool palette of his New England landscapes with the warmer hues of Italy. His service to the propagation of the American arts continues today at the American School of Architecture and the American Academy in Rome, both of which he founded.