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Willard Leroy Metcalf

Willard Leroy Metcalf, America's foremost Impressionist landscape painter, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1858. His first professional art training was an early apprenticeship to an engraver. By 1874 he had begun to produce his first paintings and was attending night classes at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. He later studied landscape painting under George Loring Brown, and won a scholarship in 1877 to attend classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Between 1881 and 1883 Metcalf worked in the Southwest painting the Zuni Indian tribe; the painting shown here, depicting ancient Indian miners at work, is from that period. He then traveled to Europe in 1993, and over the next five years studied at the Academie Julian in Paris and traveled extensively throughout Europe and North Africa. From his travels, Metcalf developed an appreciation for plein-air painting and natural light. After his return to America in 1888 he finally settled in New York City in 1890, where he worked as a portraitist and illustrator, and taught classes in art. Metcalf was among the founding members of The Ten, a group of artists who objected to the tight strictures of the National Academy of Design. Metcalf was happiest painting outdoors; he was an avid naturalist and fisherman who painted in all seasons. He is best remembered for his Impressionist landscapes of New England, and his involvement in the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut. He was recognized during his lifetime as the equivalent among painters to the poet Robert Frost in his interpretation of the New England scenery.

DE VEER, E. G., and BOYLE, R. (1987) Sunlight and Shadow: The Life and Art of Willard L. Metcalf. New York, Abbeville Press.
HIESINGER, U. W. (1991) Impressionism in America: The Ten American Painters. Munich, Prestel.
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The Mineralogical Record: Willard Leroy Metcalf - The Ancient Mines in the Valley of the Pines (Zuni Territory, New Mexico) The Ancient Mines in the Valley of the Pines (Zuni Territory, New Mexico)
Gouache on paper, 11.25 x 15 inches (ca.1882). Spanierman Gallery, New York.
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