Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hill, Thomas

Mount Tallac from Lake Tahoe
oil on canvas
90.5 x 141.9 cm
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA, USA

Thomas Hill (1829 - 1908) was an American artist of the 19th century. He produced many fine paintings of the California landscape, in particular of the Yosemite Valley, as well as the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

He was born in England and, at the age of 15, he emigrated to the United States with his family. They settled in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Hill first visited Yosemite Valley in 1862. Following a visit to Europe in 1867 and a stay in Boston from 1868 to 1872, he made the San Francisco bay area his home, actively participating in the early artistic circles of the city and traveling frequently to Yosemite. In 1883, he established his first summer studio at Yosemite, and in 1886 he moved to Wawona, fifteen miles southwest of the valley, where he maintained a studio and residence the rest of his life. The Native American encampment and the woman carrying a papoose in the foreground are elements he frequently included in his Yosemite landscapes to provide a focal point and a note of human interest. His work was often driven by a vision resulting from his experiences with nature. For him, Yosemite Valley and the White Mountains of New Hampshire were his sources of inspiration to begin painting and captured his direct response to nature.
He produced an estimated five thousand paintings of Yosemite for the tourist market. He said he painted it "not as it is, but as it ought to be."