Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Lovely Work by 19th Century Pelham Painter Offered by Manhattan Gallery

Pelham has been the home of many important American painters over the course of its history.  Such artists have included Edward Penfield, Schuyler Remington, and William Oberhardt to name merely a few.

Another important American painter who lived, painted, and built a home in Pelham was James Augustus Suydam.  He was one of the premier Luminism painters of his day and, today, is widely-known as an American landscape painter and an important member of the Hudson River School of Artists.

 Watercolor on Ivory Portrait of James Augustus Suydam;
Date:  1822 - 4.4 Inches x 3.6 Inches; Smithsonian American
Art Museum, Accession Number 1974.13.1.

Suydam built a beautiful home between about 1846 and 1848 just north of, and not far from, the Carriage House of the Bartow-Pell Mansion on Shore Road on property adjacent to the Bartow-Pell property.  I have written extensively about James Augustus Suydam and the home he built once known as "Oakshade."  See Mon., Mar. 03, 2014:  The Suydam Estate known as “Oakshade” on Shore Road in the Town of Pelham, built by James Augustus Suydam.  James Augustus Suydam lived at Oakshade for nearly the next two decades before his death on September 15, 1865.  

James Augustus Suydam began painting seriously during the 1850s while he owned and lived at Oakshade.  Although he painted scenes of Long Island Sound and the surrounding region, he also traveled extensively, throughout New England, including New Hampshire, where he also painted coastal and water scenes.

One of Suydam's coastal scenes is currently being offered for sale by a premier Manhattan gallery:  Questroyal Fine Art, LLC.  The stunning oval painting, oil on board, plainly demonstrates why Suydam is known today as such a talented American Luminist.  The painting is 8-1/8" by 10-1/8" and is entitled "Moonlit Coast."  Pictured below, it shows a bright full moon shining through wispy clouds that glow from the moonlight with rippled water below reflecting the moon.  The moonlight brightens the white sails of a passing ship and lights an inviting sandy beach at the foot of the painting.

"Moonlit Coast" by James Augustus Suydam and Now Offered
for Sale by Questroyal Fine Art, LLC, a Purveyor of Fine
American Art.  Oil on Board; 8-1/8" x 10-1/8" (Oval);
Initialed Lower Left "JAS."  NOTE:  Click on Image to Enlarge.

The first question to come to mind is whether "Moonlit Coast" depicts a Pelham shore scene.  At first blush, the painting might seem to be a view from Tallapoosa Point looking across Eastchester Bay with the tip of Pelham Neck (today's Rodman's Neck on the Left, a portion of City Island on the right with a sailing ship passing in front of it, and the Long Island Shoreline in the distance.  Such a first impression, however, would seem to be wrong.

There is what appears to be a small lighthouse standing on the point of what would, under such a scenario, be the northeastern point of City Island.  No such lighthouse stood there during Suydam's life.  While it certainly is possible that Suydam may have been inspired by a view across Eastchester Bay but added the lighthouse, it seems more likely that "Moonlit Coast" does not depict a Pelham Shore.  Rather, perhaps, it depicts another shore in the northeast.

Regardless of subject, the work is a tour de force of Suydam's Luminism and remains, nearly 150 years after it was created, a powerful example of the work of one of Pelham's most notable resident artists of the 19th century.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home