|This painting does not appear at Crystal Bridges Museum of
American Art, but a similar one does.
The South Shore Newport, Rhode Island,
Near Boat House Point, 1874
by William Trost Richards
So, here’s the situation. I’m sick. I have head cold that is threatening to ruin some weekend travel, and I should have been in bed an hour ago.
However, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens this Friday, and on Monday, I got a sneak peek in the galleries (well, my second one, really, but who’s counting?). And I have become slightly obsessed.
My first time there, as we zipped through the 19th century room (full of Hudson River School work, so I’m told by those who know), I was drawn to a painting of breaking waves. I immediately wanted to stop and stand in front of it for hours and examine it. As I pondered the remarkable fact that I could in fact do this once the museum opens (since it’s located just 30 minutes from my house. 30 minutes. !!), the tour rushed on, and I abandoned the painting.
Then Monday, I was there again, and we were being kicked out of that same gallery as the party wound down. So tonight, in honor of my head cold, I gave my preview passes to some friends, and settled in with my dog and some TV to try to recuperate. However, I couldn’t stop thinking of this painting.
So I begged one of my pass-users to find the painting and tell me the artist so I could google him. She did. His name is William Trost Richards. I’ve never heard of him, which is no big surprise since I’m not up on such things. The painting, according to the label, is called “Along the Shore” and it was painted in 1903. Oil on canvas.
Here’s the issue – I can’t find this painting on the interwebs. Google is hiding it. Where in the world did Alice Walton get it, and why isn’t it listed in the lists of this guy’s work? What am I doing wrong? Where are my art history friends when I need them?
The good news is that the museum, and their library, is nearby, so eventually I’ll figure this all out. But now, I can only marvel that I have spent a significant portion of my evening trying to track down information about a painting by an artist I’d never heard of until today.
I guess this is what happens when a major American Art museum comes to my town.
I’ll take it.