Saturday Afternoon, 1875
Jervis McEntee (1828 – 1891)
Jervis McEntee was a landscape painter, born in 1828 in the Hudson River Valley in Rondout, New York. It was said that ‘Nostalgia may well have been McEntee’s middle name”, and that he, always attempting to stir emotions in his viewers, often attached poetry to his paintings when exhibiting them. At a time when the Civil War and its after effects caused great disruption in America, McEntee’s work may have provided a visual escape for the more educated. His works are rich with the colors of autumn and winter, and he, who often painted in the Catskill Mountains, preferred smaller views rather than panoramas. Usually detailed and simple, his works often reflect a sense of loneliness.
As a youngster, McEntee would play in his parents attic, pretending it was an art studio. An unsuccessful attempt at business led McEntee back into the art profession where he studied in New York City under the influence of Frederic E. Church, master of the Hudson River Style, and soon had a showing of his own in the famous Tenth Street Studio Building by 1855.
In about 1858, Mr. and Mrs. McEntee hired English architect Calvert Vaux to build a studio next to McEntee’s fathers house in Rondout. There Jervis would spend most of his summers, painting the nearby Catskill Mountains, and returning to the city during the winter. At the outbreak of the Civil War, McEntee enlisted in the Union Army.
Sanford Robinson Gifford and Worthington Whittredge were among his friends. He exhibited at the Royal Academy in London, at the Paris Exposition of 1867, and at the Boston Art Club during the period 1873 to 1891. He was elected an associate member of the National Academy in 1860.
McEntee’s work has been preserved at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Peabody Institute.
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Biography from the Archives of AskART