View from Garrison, West Point, New York

MAKER:
Artist

David Johnson ( American, 1827 - 1908 )

DATE:
1870
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General Description

Like many of his contemporaries, David Johnson made a close study of the regions surrounding the area of the Hudson River at West Point. In _View from Garrison, West Point, New York,__ _Johnson lays out below us a panoramic view of the river valley where the United States Military Academy at West Point is at the heart of this topographically accurate composition. Gradual transitions of color from dark to light and between wilderness and settled spaces combine with the driving element of the Hudson River to achieve two results: moving the viewer through the work and striking a harmonic balance between the handiworks of man and the natural wonders of the scene. The artist’s concern for all of the intimate details is an invitation to close observation—from the boats that ply the waters of the Hudson at left, to the train that races southward across the railway viaduct at right.

Johnson, a leading member of the second generation of Hudson River school painters, executed this work in the distinctive style of his middle career, a period characterized by a tightly controlled brushwork, rich color, and masterful compositional structures. His highly refined technique and sheer application of paint during this period achieve a heightened lucidity and luminosity that finds its closest correspondence in the work of John F. Kensett, who is also represented in the Dallas Museum of Art collections.

Excerpt from

Sue Canterbury, DMA label text, 2012

Fun Facts

  • The American flag in the painting marks the location of the United States Military Academy at West Point. A mile and a half down the river is J.P. Morgan's country house, "Cragston," which many prominent New Yorkers frequented on the weekends.

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