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Mountain Landscape with River

Doughty, Thomas

Mountain Landscape with River

oil on canvas

1984 Gift of Katherine Johnson Hill, in memory of her mother Ruth Maxwell Johnson

Thomas Doughty dabbled in painting in his early 20s while running a profitable leather business with his brother. When he was 27, he decided to leave the leather business so that he could become a landscape painter. Although he had no formal art training, he experienced success early in his career with commissioned paintings of gentlemen's estates. As the nation expanded its territories westward, poets and writers captured the attention of Americans with descriptions of the glorious wilderness. Landscape painters like Doughty presented the majesty of America's landscape. Doughty emphasized the notion of human frailty in the vast wilderness by including one or two small figures in his pastoral landscapes. In "Mountain Landscape with River" the sky casts a soft light upon a placid body of water surrounded by tree-covered hills. Deep shadowed land forms at the lower left area of the painting contrast with the light colors of the sky and misty hills in the background. Doughty captured a sense of tranquility in this scene with his subtle application of harmonious colors.