New York: ca. 1830. An unsigned oil painting on canvas of the Hudson Highlands on a sunny summer's day, looking north from West Point, and based on a work by Robert W. Weir titled 'View of the Hudson Highlands from West Point'.
Robert Walter Weir (1803 - 1889) was a member of the Hudson River School of Art. Elected to the National Academy of Design in 1829, he also served as professor of drawing at West Point from the 1830's to the 1870's. His better known works include 'The Embarkation of the Pilgrims (at the rotunda of the US Capitol at Washington, DC) and 'Landing of Hendrik Hudson'.
The view in this oil painting, by an unknown artist, is taken from Trophy Point looking north up the Hudson, with Cold Spring buildings on the eastern shore, and "Undercliff" prominently visible above the town. Undercliff was built by John Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, who originally intended to use it as a summer residence but instead sold it to the poet, Gen. George P. Morris, who used it as his summer home from 1830 until his death in 1864. In the foreground appears a seated cadet and young lady wearing a red shawl and bonnet. Sailing ships glide up and down the river, their sails reflected on its surface.
On the verso of the canvas is stamped "Prepared by Edward Dechaux, New York". Dechaux was a New York City firm active in the 1830s, known as a "color man"; this firm prepared canvases for artists through a time consuming process of sizing, adding layers of a solid color ground, and then drying thoroughly, a process that saved painters much time and effort.
Weir worked with James Smillie, an eminent print and bank note engraver, producing fine copper engraved prints for the New York Mirror magazine. There is an engraving of the same view which appeared in the New York Mirror (1836), engraved by Smillie.
A small roughly triangular chip, approximately 3/8" at the upper left side, in a portion of blue sky. Craquelure visible on the surface. The painting approx. 24 x 18", framed in the original gilt wooden frame, with a paper label on the top edge "The Hudson Highlands from West Point", 29 x 23". Overall, very nice condition. Item #20236