Near Greycourt, New York
Oil on canvas
Gift of Robert and Mary Schmid; P.989.5
Originally based in Cincinnati, Worthington Whittredge first developed his approach to painting through his early exposure to the work of the Hudson River school, followed by study in Düsseldorf, Germany, the international center for academic painting in the 1850s. In 1859, after spending three years painting in Italy, he established a studio in New York’s Tenth Street Studio building. In response both to his European sojourn and to the second generation of American landscapists, which included Asher B. Durand and John Frederick Kensett, Whittredge adopted a softer, more naturalistic style that he applied to his paintings of the American West in the late 1860s—works that highlighted the region’s gentler, more pastoral beauty over its spectacular topography. Whittredge painted Near Greycourt back east, in Orange County, New York, where he completed some of his finest works during the mid-1870s. By this point he had mastered delicate outdoor lighting effects and begun to incorporate picturesque elements into his scenes, such as old farmhouses and rural laborers working or returning home from the fields. Whittredge’s agrarian motifs and broader, plein-air style reveal his admiration for the French Barbizon school, which was gaining favor among American artists. In this painting the hazy, golden light of late afternoon casts long shadows in the field and gives a poetic, reverential feel to this scene of a farmhand herding his charges homeward.
Last Updated: 4/17/09