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Jervis McEntee

Landscape painter Jervis McEntee was born in Rondout, New York in the Hudson River Valley, in 1828; he died in 1891, in the same community. The nearby Catskill Mountains were reflected in his paintings of rural New York State.

His artistic career was influenced by a friend, Henry Pickering, and by artist Frederic E. Church. Pickering was a cultured man and a poet, who boarded with the McEntee family and spent considerable time with young Jervis. At age 22, McEntee went to New York City; he studied with Church during the winter of 1850.

McEntee married a minister's daughter in 1854 and tried his hand unsuccessfully at business in Rondout, before returning to art as a profession. In 1858, he opened a studio in New York City. Spending winters in the city, he returned in the summers to river-valley and mountain locations, his prime subjects.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Mc Entee enlisted in the Union Army. In 1868, he toured Europe with artist Sanford R. Gifford.

McEntee's landscapes are characterized by colors of autumn and winter. He usually painted small views rather than wide panoramas. They are simple, naturalistic and detailed, and critics have noted the presence of a melancholy mood, perhaps even a feeling of desolation.

He added an unusual touch to his painting The Melancholy Days Have Come (1861, National Academy of Design), by attaching part of "The Death of the Flowers," a poem by William Cullen Bryant which complemented the painting. Melancholy Days enlarged McEntee's reputation. Another notable painting was "Eastern Sky at Sunset" (date unknown, Corcoran Art Gallery).

Elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design in 1860, McEntee became a full member in 1861. He died in 1891.

National Academy of Design

Public Collections:
Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington D.C.
National Academy of Design, New York City
Peabody Institute, Baltimore

Biography courtesy of Roughton Galleries, www.antiquesandfineart.com/roughton

Jervis McEntee studied art under Frederick Church in NYC from 1850-51 and was a member of the Hudson River School. In 1858 he opened his own studio in NYC. His works are typically small and detailed and would occasionally include passages of poetry when exhibited. His landscapes of rural New York, particularly the Catskill Mountains were painted in colors of autumn and winter with a melancholy mood. However, his style did change a little to include some Impressionistic techniques. McEntee was elected an associate member of the National Academy in 1860 and became a full member the following year. He died in 1891.

Biography courtesy of The Caldwell Gallery, www.antiquesandfineart.com/caldwell

Jervis McEntee was one of the most sensitive artists of the Hudson River School, praised for his ability to invest landscape with understated emotion. Henry Tuckerman wrote that "McEntee is fond of rendering landscape subservient to, or identical with, a special sentiment" -a sentiment that McEntee himself described as a "preference for the soberer phases of Nature."

Autumn, with its hues of loss and maturity, seemed to bend itself to McEntee's brush, and he became known for his "sober" evocations of the season. This was his greatest gift as an artist: his sensitivity to nature's transformations, his receptivity to the melancholy season that compelled his creativity. From the precise outlines of his early paintings to the impressionistic atmospherics of his late work, McEntee consistently adapted his painterly task to the demands of the landscape in sight. The virtuosity of his technique is apparent in his oeuvre as a whole; his force is in the strength of hand with which he restrains himself.

McEntee's technique was a product of great talent fostered by strong training. In 1851, the young artist studied under the leading painter of the day, Frederic Church, who would remain his friend throughout the remainder of his life. By 1857, McEntee had given himself over to his art, settling in New York's Tenth Street Studio Building alongside Sanford R. Gifford and John F. Kensett, who were his closest artistic kin. Despite his tendency toward melancholia, he and his wife became amicable hosts to some of the finest writers and artists of the time. As McEntee's association with the Hudson River School grew, he was seen as one of its most original talents.

McEntee was an academician of the National Academy of Design and exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association, the Boston Art Club, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. His work was also selected for the Paris Exposition of 1867 and was featured at the Royal Academy of London. His paintings are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Biography courtesy of Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, www.antiquesandfineart.com/questroyal

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