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William (1823) Hart


Aliases: William (1823) Hart, William M. Hart


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(b Paisley, Scotland, 1823; d Mount Vernon, New York, 1894) Scottish-born American Painter. William McDougal Hart was born in Scotland and taken to America early in his youth by his family. His first landscape painting experience was decorating the panels of coaches while he apprenticed under a carriage painter in New York. In mid 1840s, he returned to America and concentrated on the study of American landscape. Like many of the major landscape artists of his time, he opened a studio in New York City, and embraced the mannerism of the late Hudson Rive School. By placing emphasis on the light and atmosphere, he became adept at depicting angled sunlight and foreground shadow. He is also known for his prolific and occasionally formulaic paintings of cattle, a popular motif in Hudson River School art; cows were used as diminutive symbols of man’s harmonious relationship with nature. Hart exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1848 through the mid 1870s; the Brooklyn Art Association; he was a member of the American Watercolor Society, where he served as its president from 1870 to 1973.

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