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Edmund Darch Lewis - Mount Washington, New Hampshire

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens explores Edmund Darch Lewis' painting "Mount Washington, New Hampshire."

Published October 27, 2012 in Weekend Edition      0 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article




A favorite piece in The Cummer’s permanent collection is, Mount Washington, New Hampshire by Edmund Darch Lewis. This monumental painting highlighting Mount Washington in north central New Hampshire is sublime and picturesque in its grandeur. The placid, timeless scene depicts the majesty and power of nature and evokes the doctrine of Manifest Destiny that motivated settlers to explore America’s frontiers. The heroic landscape appears virtually unspoiled by human encroachment, yet signs of taming the wilderness are evident in the well-traveled path, the cleared land, the grazing cows, and the inclusion of two fishermen. Lewis followed the nineteenth-century formula for landscapes by depicting a foreground, middle ground, and background receding into infinity. The preparatory sketch done on site for this panoramic view can be found in the Edmund Darch Lewis Sketchbook Collection at The Athenaeum in Philadelphia.

Edmund Darch Lewis was born in Philadelphia in 1835 to wealthy and prominent family. He began to study art at the age of 15, and spent five years studying with German-born landscapist Paul Webber. Lewis studied painting for only a short time before he began exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and later at the National Academy of Design in New York. Lewis mastered oil painting early in his career, after a while he became bored with the technique and switched to making watercolor paintings. Lewis’s works in watercolor have been very much admired, however, his earlier works in oil are considered superior to his later work because of his excellent training. Lewis specialized in painting landscapes and marine scenes of New England, rendering crisply realistic images of shorelines, waterways, and rural scenes in the northeast. His works quickly won him the acclaim as one of the most popular painters in Philadelphia during his time. Lewis also became well-known for amassing a huge collection of fine and decorative arts during the last 30 years of his life.


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