Recognized as a leading landscape and genre painter in the United States and abroad, George Henry Boughton had the ability to express sentiment and pathos on canvas. He illustrated editions of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and History of New York and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. In his landscapes, he painted scenes of England, Brittany and The Netherlands.
Though he was home near Nourish, England in 1833 and lived in London for the second half of his life, Houghton’s formative years as a self-taught artist began in Albany, New York, where his family settled in 1839.
At age 19 he was a landscape painter, whose paintings were being praised. The American Art-Union purchased his third or fourth picture. Through the encouragement of that institution, where he exhibited in 1852, he was able to study in England for six months.
If ever there were a painter who could tell a story with genuine sentiment, using soft tones and colors, it was Boughton. A London critic once declared that he "has learnt the secret of putting natural feeling into rustic figures, which has been almost entirely wanting to English painters."
Many of his works were of small size; notable among them is one entitled "Passing into the Shade (date and location unknown), a woodland scene with two aged peasant women. Other paintings such as "Hop-Pickers Returning" (date and location unknown), Through the Fields (date and location unknown), and Coming through the Rye (date and location unknown), reflect his narrative approach. Pilgrims Going to Church (1867, New-York Historical Society) recalls a past era with historical accuracy.
In 1857, Boughton exhibited at the Washington Art Association, and from 1859 to 1860 he worked in New York City. In 1861, he went to Paris to study on his own; the French influence was subsequently reflected in his style. Boughton established a studio in London in 1861, and continued his career in England until his death in 1905.
|George Henry Boughton|
Winter Moonlight, 1862
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