William Merritt Post (1856-1935)


Early Summer Stream

Oil on canvas


William Merritt Post was a tonalist landscape painter often associated with the Barbizon school and the early New England Impressionists. Born on December 11, 1856 in Brooklyn, Post was the son of a commodities merchant. His parents separated after sixteen years of marriage and four children, suggesting a troubled home life. Post's attraction to nature began in the fall of 1879, when an excursion from Brooklyn to a marshy region made Post think, "If I were an artist, this region would be one of the first places I would strike out for." Unlike many artists of the day who studied in Paris, Germany and Holland, Post developed his eye for composition, his technical knowledge of the craft of painting and his deft draftsmanship in the artistic community of New York. At the age of twenty-four, he began taking drawing lessons from  the relatively unknown Samuel Frost Johnson. By 1880, Post had already begun painting Hudson River pictures on academic board and signing them "W. Post." By 1881-1882, he moved on to the Art Students League, where he worked with J. Carroll Beckwith. By 1884, Post was twenty-eight and had launched a career as a landscapist. That same year, the National Academy of Design accepted for its autumn exhibition one of his paintings. It was in these years that he became greatly influenced by the landscape painter, Hugh Bolton Jones. Both men were attracted to tightly focused landscape scenes, particularly streams amid trees and meadows, and their primary goal was to capture light at different times of day and in different seasons. This predeliction, in turn, drove both artists to excursions outside of New York into the countryside of the marsh towns in New Jersey and on Long Island. It was in the marsh areas of Milburn, South Orange and Nutley, New Jersey that the country stream emerged as an infinitely variable formula to display subtle reactions to a particular aspect of nature. In the 1890s, Post perfected the country stream motif and the evident salability of these paintings no doubt explains how he became financially independent of his father, and it also obliges us to assume that his significance as an artist depended on his vituoso interpretation of this theme to the end of his long life. Post exhibited continually at the National Academy of Design, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts as well as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He also exhibited in Buffalo, Chicago, St. Louis and Washington DC (the Corcoran gallery), receiving many awards. Also an active member of the two watercolor clubs that had been established in New York City, Post was later elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design (1910). Post first summered in Bethlehem, Connecticut around 1908. In 1912, they purchased a 15-acre farm, Applewood, in West Morris (Bantam) fifteen miles northwest of Waterbury. With the help of New York architects, the Posts completely remodeled the place adding a studio addition in the process. The Bantam River ran westerly at the back of the property. After settling in his West Morris studio, Post began painting plein-air landscapes, and traveled throughout the northeast, collecting landscape motifs in his sketchbooks. Perhaps more so than any other American artist, he was fascinated with country streams and reflections on water, and concentrated on these themes all of his professional life.

Dealer Garvey Rita Art & Antiques
Artist/Maker William Merritt Post
Measurements 14 x 20 inches
Price $6,500
Inventory View Dealer's Show Inventory
Request more information via email
Website http://www.garveyrita.com
Contact Kevin Rita, 860 983-6563 or  info@garveyrita.com

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