Thomas Worthington Whittredge
(Springfield, Ohio, 22 May 1820 - 25 February 1910, Summit, New Jersey)
Whittredge was born in a log cabin near Springfield, Ohio. He painted landscapes and portraits as a young man in Cincinnati before traveling to Europe in 1849, to further his artistic training. Arriving in Germany he settled at the Düsseldorf Academy, a major art school of the period, and studied with Emanuel Leutze. At Düsseldorf, Whittredge befriended Bierstadt and posed for Leutze as both George Washington and a steersman in Leutze’s famous painting, Washington Crossing the Delaware, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting.
Whittredge spent nearly ten years in Europe, meeting and travelling with other important artists including Sanford Gifford. He returned to the United States in 1859, and settled in New York City where he launched his career as a landscape artist painting in the Hudson River School style.
Whittredge journeyed across the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains in 1865, with Sanford Gifford and John Frederick Kensett. The trip resulted in some of Whittredge’s most important works -- unusually oblong, spare landscapes that captured the stark beauty and linear horizon of the Plains. Whittredge later wrote in his autobiography, “I had never seen the plains or anything like them. They impressed me deeply. I cared more for them than for the mountains... Whoever crossed the plains at that period, notwithstanding its herds of buffalo and antelope, its wild horses, deer and fleet rabbits, could hardly fail to be impressed with its vastness and silence and the appearance everywhere of an innocent, primitive existence." His 1876, painting "On the Cache La Poudre River, Colorado" depicts the river and plains in the foreground, with the Rockies in the background of the painting.
Whittredge moved to Summit, New Jersey, in 1880, where he continued to paint for the rest of his life.He died in 1910 at the age of 89 and is buried in the Springfield, New Jersey cemetery. Whittredge's paintings are now in the collections of numerous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
Whittredge, Worthington, N. A. (Am.) Born in the State of Ohio, 1820. He followed mercantile pursuits in Cincinnati, but soon abandoned business for the profession of art. Was at first a portrait-painter in Cincinnati. In 1850 he went to Europe, studying in the galleries of London and Paris. In Diisseldorf he became a pupil of Andreas Achenbach, living in that city for three years. He studied, in Belgium and Holland, and went to Rome in 1855, remaining until he finally settled in New York, in 1859, being elected National
Academician tin; same year. In 1866 he made a sketching-tour to the Far West of America, his " View of the Rocky Mountains from the River Platte'' belonging to the Century Club, being one of the results of this trip. In 1874 he was elected President of the Academy of Design, holding the office for three years. Among Whittredge's works are:
"Whittredge is a progressive artist. He acquired with the dexterity some of the mannerism of the Diisseldorf school; but constant and loving study of nature since his return from abroad lias modified this habitude. He is more original, and applies his skill with deeper sentiment. Conscientiously devoted to his art, for manly fidelity to the simple verity of nature, no one of our painters is more consistently distinguished than Worthington Whittredge." -- Tuckerman's Book of the Artists.
Mr. Whittredge's pictures of forest solitudes, with their delicate intricacies of foliage, and the sifting down of feeble rays of light into depths of shade are always executed with rare skill and feeling. His style is well suited to this class of subjects; it is loose, free, sketchy, void of all that is rigid and formal. It evinces a subtle sympathy with the suggestive and evanescent qualities of the landscape. But in his treatment of the open sky this artist is less happy. There is sometimes apparent a slight crudeness in his rendering of this feature of nature that is open to unfavorable criticism. His pictures, however, always express a sincere and true motive." -- Prof. Weir's Official Report of the American Centennial Exhibition of 1876.
Artists of the Nineteenth Century and their Works, by Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.
View painter's work: Thomas Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910)