Moat Mountain, Intervale, New Hampshire
Oil on canvas
Gift of Robert A. and Dorothy H. Goldberg; P.987.34.17
This composition depicts the northwest slope of Moat Mountain as viewed from the broad Saco River bottomland known as the Intervale in North Conway, New Hampshire. Boston painter Francis Seth Frost has turned away from an emphasis on the sublime aspects of the setting, which had appealed to an earlier generation of painters of the White Mountains, toward the more subdued, intimate approach to the landscape associated with the luminist style. This is most noticeable in the carefully rendered details, clarified lighting, and compositional structure based on a series of horizontal bands. While subservient to the artist’s chief aesthetic interest in lighting effects, the seated figure and distant farmhouse remind us that the White Mountains region was no longer an untouched wilderness. As is evident from this work, artists would increasingly capitalize on the area’s more pastoral qualities, in keeping with the shifting aesthetic interests of the late nineteenth century. Frost exhibited White Mountain landscapes as early as 1854. By then he had already spent two years in California (1849-51), returning to his native Massachusetts with gold dust reportedly worth four years’ wages and sketches of Western scenery. He became close friends with and a likely student of the more established Albert Bierstadt, whom he accompanied to the American West with Frederick W. Lander’s survey party in 1859. Upon their return, Frost continued to paint both New Hampshire and Rocky Mountain scenes with modest success until his death, while also practicing photography and running a major artist’s supply store, Frost & Adams, in Boston. Despite his apparent productivity as a painter, relatively few of his works have been located.
Last Updated: 5/13/09