|American Paintings — William Guy Wall - Running The Stag|
|William Guy Wall - Running The Stag
Hudson River School (ca. 1825-1875)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Canvas size: 30 1/4” x 36”; Framed size: 25 1/2” x 41 1/4”
William G. Wall was born in Dublin and spent his life and livelihood traveling between Ireland and America. After settling in America with his family in 1818, Wall arrived upon the American art scene as an accomplished artist. He had spent a substantial part of his youth in Ireland mastering the skills necessary to succeed as painter.
Most historians regard Wall as an American landscape painter. Yet, his mastery of landscape painting came from studying the breath-taking views of Ireland, adorned with sharp cliffs and grassy mounds. It was this native born training that allowed Wall to distinguish himself as a superior American topographic artist, specializing in acute atmospheric perspective views. In addition, his early education provided him with an understanding of how natural light affects the dimensions of a landscape.
Wall is most celebrated for his set of twenty watercolor paintings exhibited in his Hudson River Portfolio of the 1820's. His elegant and skillful depiction of the New York topography represents the finest set of views ever executed of the area. Master engraver, John Hill (1770-1850), collaborated with Wall on the project and helped to make lasting imprints of his watercolor works.
However he is also known for the field of oil paintings as seen in the present example, Running the Stag, which exudes an autumnal aura with shades of yellow, orange, green, and brown. As the river narrows around the bend, the eye naturally follows the fading perspective into the distance. The gathering clouds up top enable Wall to make brilliant use of light and shadows to illuminate detailed crevices. One captures a sense of the paintings inherent flow with the movement of the river and the extending tree branches. Wall allows the painting to exude vitality with majestic, evolving trees. The reflections of the greenery upon the river symbolize the way nature mimics the patterns of life.
Wall actively participated as a member and founder of many art committees during his lifetime. While in Ireland, he belonged to the Royal Irish Art Union and became president of the establishment in 1847. Additionally, in America he exhibited paintings in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Apollo Association. Significantly, Walls helped found the National Academy of Design.