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Artwork of the Month - April 2009


Moulin Huet Bay, Guernsey

Artist: William Trost Richards (1833-1905)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Status: Permanent collection
Item No.: GMAG 2002.112

About The Artist

William Trost Richards was born in Philadelphia in 1833. He studied at the studio of the German-born painter Paul Weber at the Pennsylvanian Academy of the Fine Arts. Weber was associated with the The Hudson River School, an American Romantic art movement inspired by the American wilderness. Many of these artists used exaggerated light effects in their work, which also led to an American landscape style of painting known as Luminism.

Richards was influenced by Weber and consequently also strongly linked with both The Hudson River School and Luminism. He was also one of the first American artists whose work was influenced by the British Pre Raphaelite movement.

Initially Richards was recognized for his landscapes but around 1867 he started to turn to the sea and coastline for inspiration. This painting of Moulin Huet Bay is a prime example of how artists characterized as Luminists approached seascapes, describing a calm sea with intense reflective qualities together with a light-drenched hazy sky. This painting would have resulted from one of Richards' visits to the Island in 1899 or 1902. Richards travelled throughout Europe seeking inspiration for his art, but ultimately returned to the U.S. He died in Newport, Wisconsin in 1905.

Richards' work can be seen in some of the most prestigious galleries and museums in North America such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Richards also received the great accolade of being the first American artist to have drawings acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.