William Trost Richards 1833-1905

Rocky Coast, Springtime

  • 12 x 24 inches (30.5 x 61 cm)
  • Oil on board
  • Signed lower left: Wm T. Richards

Why We Love It

We believe that Richards’ seascapes are the best portrayals of the American seascape extant. Throughout his career he painted the eastern seaboard from Maine to New Jersey. Standing knee deep in water, he would sketch furiously, trying to capture the constantly changing scene before him then race away so as not to be soaked by the in-rushing water. For anyone who has visited the area, even today, the coastal plane and ocean water he recorded is unmistakably true to nature.

The Value

Richards coastal scenes are some of his best and most powerful paintings. His ability to capture the raw elements of nature made these works as collectable in his own lifetime as they are today. Indeed, much of Richards career was spent painting the seascapes he so loved. He never tired of the subject, which is evident in the expertise he devoted to each work.

Artist Background

1833: Born in Philadelphia; 1846-47: Attended Central High School for Boys, but had to leave to go to work; 1850: Studied art with Paul Weber. Probably worked at Archer, Warner and Miskey; 1851: Took first sketching trip on the Brandywine River; 1852: Exhibited for the first time at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA); 1855: Took sketching trip up the Hudson River to the Adirondacks; 1856-57: Traveled to Europe, where he visited France, Switzerland, and Italy; 1859: Began taking summer sketching trips to Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Adirondacks, and New England; 1863: Becomes a member of the Association for the Advancement of Truth in Art, a group of artists very much influenced by the aesthetic theory of John Ruskin; 1875: Purchased home in Newport, Rhode Island, where he resided in the summer. Lived in Germantown section of Philadelphia during the winter; 1876: Awarded bronze medal at Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia; 1878: Traveled to England. Visited Cornwall; 1882: Spent first summer at Grey Cliff; 1889: Awarded bronze medal at Paris Exposition; 1891-1905: Traveled to Europe almost annually. Resided in Newport full time; 1905: Awarded PAFA’s gold medal of honor. Died.