Hudson River by Willard L. Metcalf

Name: Hudson River | Artist: Willard L. Metcalf Media: Oil on canvas | Year(s): 1905
Willard L. Metcalf | Hudson River | 1905 | Oil on canvas | Frederic Remington Art Museum, Ogdensburg, NY

About the Work

Willard Metcalf's artistic talent was recognized early: he was accepted as an apprentice to the landscapist George Loring Brown in 1875, and, in 1877, he received one of the first scholarships awarded by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1883, Metcalf traveled to France, where he lived for the next six years. Like many later nineteenth-century American artists, including Anna Richards Brewster and Childe Hassam, Metcalf studied at the Académie Julian in Paris. He also visited Claude Monet at his home in Giverny. In 1897, Metcalf joined other American painters to form the group known as "The Ten." Most of these artists based their individual styles on Impressionism.

Remington was friendly with several members of "The Ten," but may have felt a special bond with Metcalf ("Mettie," as he called him) because Metcalf knew the Southwest. Harper's magazine had sent Metcalf there in 1881, to produce illustrations of the Zuni people for publication. The two artists lunched together regularly at the Players Club, a private organization founded by the famous actor Edwin Booth in New York City. A portrait of Metcalf appears in "People I Know," Remington's collection of illustrations of his friends (in the center case of the gallery).

It is not known how Remington acquired (purchase or gift) this quickly rendered view, seemingly executed on site, of the upper Hudson River. But Remington's admiration for Metcalf's landscapes is made clear in diary entries. After seeing Metcalf's paintings at the Montross Gallery in New York in 1908, Remington wrote: "He is the boss of the landscape painters." Viewing a Metcalf exhibition the following year led Remington to declare: "He is no. 1."