New Jersey artist Andrew Melrose painted traditional, atmospheric landscapes inspired by travels in Europe, South American and various regions of the United States. Many of his best paintings are views of New York State and New Jersey, especially regions of the Hudson River Valley and New York Harbor. Melrose typically painted in an indigenous American style of landscape painting which may be characterized as romantic realism.
A Self-taught artist, Andrew Melrose was born in Selkirk, Scotland in 1836. Although few records exist of his activity prior to the Civil War, it is thought that Melrose emigrated to the United states about 1856. In the two decades after 1865, he worked out of New Jersey, where he maintained studios in Hoboken and Guttenberg. Searching for inspiring subject matter, Melrose traveled to various Southern and Western areas of the United States, the British Isles and Austria.
In 1880 or 1881, Melrose visited the mountain region of North Carolina. In addition to being impressed with the natural grandeur of that region, he was interested by certain aspects of rural life. Melrose rendered many of his Southern landscapes, which typically included views of the mountains of North Carolina or the Shenandoah Valley, in soft, atmospheric terms. In about 1887, Melrose executed an oil painting entitled New York Harbor and the Battery, from which he later produced a series of chromolithographs. This bright and airy view of the harbor recalls a long tradition of scenic landscape painting that goes back to the early nineteenth century. Melrose's concern for rendering the effects of light and atmosphere signals a trend toward a lighter palette and looser brushstroke. These stylistic developments suggest the influence of the French impressionists in his mature work.
Melrose was a frequent exhibitor at the National Academy of Design between 1868 and 1883. He died in West New York, New Jersey in 1901.