Jervis McEntee


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


Painter. Known chiefly for landscapes, he occasionally painted works with narrative content. He had little interest in the dramatic panoramas popularized by fellow Hudson River School landscapists, preferring instead intimate impressions of nature seen in subdued light. His numerous realistic but suggestive autumn and winter scenes emphasize the bittersweet melancholy of nature's transience. Born in the Hudson River Valley village of Rondout (now part of Kingston), he studied in New York during the winter of 1850–51 with Frederic Church but then entered a business career in Rondout. Before the end of the decade, however, he returned to New York to devote himself full time to painting. He served in the Civil War, which inspired a few metaphorical images commenting on its tragic meanings for the country. In 1868 he departed for Europe, where he spent about half of his year abroad in Rome. He died in Rondout, where he had continued to maintain a summer home. Deviating from the optimism of much mid-century American painting, the somber tone of his work appealed to the introspective mood of the later nineteenth century. Although the spirit of his work in the 1870s and 1880s often recalls Barbizon feeling for rural life, McEntee's continuing attention to nature's specifics seemed old-fashioned as the Hudson River School abated. For nearly the final two decades of his life, McEntee kept a detailed diary (now owned by the Archives of American Art) that records his life and thoughts within the context of New York art life. Although never published in its entirety, it remains an important resource for scholars.

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.