2024 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction31 / 80  •  View Catalog  •   • 

Thomas Hill (1829 – 1908)
On the Banks of the Merced River (1905)
oil on canvas
35 × 53 inches
48 × 65 × 5.5 inches (framed)
signed and dated lower right

Noted art historian Dr. Rick Stewart wrote, “There were some artists of the American West who settled in a particular region in order to paint its natural beauty, not its inhabitants. Such was the case with the California landscapes of Thomas Hill. Born in England, Hill came to America with his family and by 1855 was a fledgling artist making sketching trips into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In 1861 the young artist journeyed overland to California and settled in San Francisco to further his career. He specialized in portraits and landscapes derived from trips taken into the surrounding countryside. Within a year Hill had visited the Yosemite Valley, and he returned to his studio laden with sketches. Subsequent trips to other wilderness locales in the region, including the Kings River Canyon and the vicinity of Lake Tahoe, yielded many finished landscapes which he exhibited in his adopted city.

“In 1883 Hill built a studio at Yosemite in the lower village area on the valley floor, where he continued to paint its wonders. Although he traveled widely, painting and exhibiting constantly in this period, he most often lived in the vicinity of Yosemite.

“‘Accidental effects can only be gotten with a big brush, I depend entirely on accident — you have no idea how much is produced that way,’ Hill wrote his son in the same period. Indeed, the colors and effects … are applied with seeming spontaneity, yet are so beautifully handled that they seem at first to exist in and of themselves, in an impressionistic manner. But as the viewer contemplates the vista, and is drawn into it, the colors and brushstrokes harmonize and blend into a unified whole, evocative and mysterious, like the great Yosemite Valley itself.”

PROVENANCE
Bonhams & Butterfields, San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, 2003
Private collection, Wyoming

Thomas Hill

1829 – 1908

On the Banks of the Merced River (1905)
oil on canvas
35 × 53 inches
48 × 65 × 5.5 inches (framed)
signed and dated lower right
$150,000 – 250,000
Condition Report

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