HILL, John William (1812-1879). From Fishkill [View of the Hudson River, from Fishkill}.

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JOHN WILLIAM HILL (1812 - 1879) From Fishkill [View of the Hudson River, from Fishkill] Watercolor on paper 6 3/4 x 12 3/4 in Frame size: 15” x 20 1/2 in. 1873 $8,000. 

This lovely, jewel-like watercolor by John William Hill represents a rare opportunity to acquire the original work of one of America’s foremost artists of city views. John William Hill and his father were two of the best and most prolific graphic artists who worked in New York during the first half of the nineteenth century. John William came to America as a child with his family. He served a long apprenticeship to his father, a prominent aquatint artist, but gave up indoor studio painting to work outdoors when he came under the lasting influence of John Ruskin and his truth-to-nature principle. That eminent English aesthetician believed that an artist should retain “in his delineation of natural scenery a fidelity to the facts of science so rigid as to make his work only ac- ceptable and credible to the most sternly critical intellect,” but “should yet invest its features with the sweet veil of their daily aspect.” John William’s affinity towards naturalism became evident in his earliest works, even before he came under the influence of Ruskin’s principles. He was quite precocious; in 1828, at the age of sixteen, he had two of his New York City scenes accepted for exhibition at the National Academy of Design. Thereafter, he exhibited steadily, becoming an associate member of the Academy at the age of twenty-one. 

Like his famous father, John William became one of the most celebrated artists of city views working in Ameri- ca. Father and son established a veritable family dynasty in the realm of city views, producing a series of beautiful and vastly popular glimpses of growing American centers. Hill’s work was frequently issued as colored lithographs by firms including the New York-based Smith Brothers, and thereby became known throughout the country, but his original work is extremely scarce.