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Winter on the River

Lawson, Ernest

Winter on the River

oil on canvas

1969 Gift of Mrs. Ray Evans

In the early part of the 20th century, eight American painters fought against the prevailing style of nineteenth century romanticist art. These painters, known as The Eight, presented true portrayals of American people and their daily lives. One member of The Eight, Canadian born Ernest Lawson, was a quiet man who did not promote himself or his art. He enjoyed his association with the colorful members of The Eight, also known as the Ashcan School, and worked with them to organize the Armory Show of 1913. He differed from the other members of The Eight who depicted gritty scenes of urban realism. Lawson was not attracted to the coarse subjects of urban realism favored by his colleagues. He preferred landscapes, especially snow-covered winter scenes like "Winter on the River". As the only landscape painter of The Eight, Lawson was an outstanding American Impressionist whose work emphasized heightened atmospheric light and the contours of the land. In "Winter on the River" Lawson captured the frosty stillness of a winter scene on the Harlem River with the various shades of white that he saw in the ice and snow.