In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: William Trost Richards, “Western Shore of Ion.”
An important American landscape artist often connected with the Hudson River School and the American Pre-Raphaelite movement, William Trost Richards (1833­–1905) produced innumerable acclaimed watercolors and paintings of marine, White Mountain, and Hudson Valley subjects. Born in Philadelphia, Richards studied alongside German artist Paul Weber (1823­–1916) and worked as an illustrator for a metalwork company. In 1854, Richards met many of the renowned painters of the Hudson River School, which would help shape his artistic vision. But in lieu of the romanticized and stylized approach to landscape by the Hudson River School, Richards preferred extreme naturalism and factual renderings, making many of his works appear photographic.
Today, Richards’s works are featured in many important museums, including the National Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Wadsworth Atheneum; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; the High Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Fogg Art Museum; and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Featuring in Louis J. Dianni’s 2015 auction in Garrison, New York, is Richards’s “Western Shore of Ion,” a stunningly beautiful and quintessential seascape produced in 1890, toward the end of the artist’s career. Richards’s faithfulness to nature has indeed come through in this piece, and one feels as though one could step into the picture. Focusing on a large rocky outcrop, waves crash and spew mist into the air in the center of the composition. There is a lovely pairing of the blue-green of the ocean with the light green of the rocky shore. Flashes of red are barely visible toward the upper left edge of the painting, but are intensified by the dominant blues and greens.
“Western Shore of Ion” features in Louis J. Dianni’s auction on August 8-9 in Garrison, New York.
To view the full catalogue, visit Lous J. Dianni.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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