From time to time, one’s contributions to the world get noticed long after they have left earth. For some, it may be centuries later. This is the case for one Kingston painter named Jervis McEntees. McEntee’s contribution to the first native art movement in the United States, the Hudson River School finally gets celebrated, a century and a quarter later. Two exhibitions were used to celebrate McEntees’s efforts. His specific contributions to the movement included his personal journals, which have become treasures for scholars who study the early days of the Hudson River School.
The two exhibitions that were used to celebrate McEntee were: Kingston exhibitions - an exploration …show more content…
These were gifts from Edwin Booth, an actor. The McEntees welcomed and helped him when his brother, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Among the treasure is an original volume of William Cullen Bryant’s ‘Among the Trees’ (1874). It cannot escape one’s attention that it is illustrated with engravings that are based on McEntee’s drawings.
Some of the most interesting paintings in the collection are McEntee’s early paintings, which have a naïve style. One such painting is the ‘Rondout Creek, Hudson River and Ponckhockie Peninsula’. It provides a vast view of land and water. It shows a series of receding planes, with a procession of sailboats at intervals. One’s eye can only move to the horizon. This painting is a sharp contrast to the painting showing ‘The Woods of Asshockan’ (1871). This composition invites your eye into a wooden valley. The lighting and texture could only be paying homage to great artistes like Church and Asher B. Durand.
The second exhibition, the one at the Dorsky Museum, showcases McEntee as a modest, yet unique painter. He stayed in Europe for a while with Church and Sanford Gifford. He was adept at depicting the American landscape. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t dynamic though, as shown by ‘Facing the Catskills’ …show more content…
He still could depict happier moments, though. One of his paintings, ‘Beeches and Ferns’ (1859) shows light trickling through the woods, a mimic of Asher Durand’s work. ‘Lake Scene at Sunset (circa 1864) borrows from John Frederick Kensett’s luminism. ‘Winter Sunset after a Storm’ (circa 1870) depicts the yellow and orange sky, rivaling even Church’s orchestration of color.
Some of McEntee’s works do actually have European influence. This is despite the fact that he had publicly criticized works with European influence for failing to maintain fidelity to nature. In ‘The Danger Signal’ (1871) the glaring light of a steam engine as it plows through a storm suggests an influence by William Turners, an English artist.
The reason why McEntee may be said to be a modest painter is because his personal style got overshadowed by other people’s influences. McEntee’s works, together with the Hudson River School movement was overshadowed by the impressionist generation of artists. This is the reason why it took a century and more for McEntee’s contribution to be