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 John William Casilear  (1811 - 1893)

About: John William Casilear
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Vermont      Known for: landscape painting, banknote engraving

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John William Casilear
from Auction House Records.
On the Path
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City, John Casilear was a leading Hudson River School* painter, known for serene landscapes that reflect delicate detailing he learned as an engraver and his interest in Luminism* or the reflection of light on natural forms.

He began his study with master engraver Peter Maverick and then studied landscape painting with Asher Durand.  To earn money, Casilear worked for many years as an engraver for the American Bank Note Company and later with his own firm.

But his great love was landscape painting, which he exhibited beginning 1833 at the National Academy of Design*.  From 1840 to 1843, he traveled in Europe with Durand, John Kensett and Thomas Rossiter, but for most of his life, he worked either out of his studio in New York City or in upstate New York or in Vermont, where he spent many summers.

From 1854, he devoted himself to landscape painting and was a leader among the Hudson River School Luminist painters who focused on special effects of air, light, and mood.  Views of Lake George were his most frequent subjects.

He was elected an Academician of the National Academy in 1851, and his work is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

He died in Saratoga, New York.

Source:
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx




Biography from Turak Gallery of American Art:
One of the few youths who persuaded Asher B. Durand to take him on as a pupil and assistant John Casilear joined his studio in 1831 after having been trained in engraving by Peter Maverick.  Casilear himself became an important bearer of influence, if only for the fact of his later pictures and his personal influence on John Frederick Kensett.

For several years Casilear stuck to engraving and exhibited his vignettes at the Academy, but in 1836 he exhibited two landscapes.  From then on, he sought little else but release in landscape painting.  In 1838 he sent his old shopmate at Maverick's Kensett, a letter saying he was getting ready for a summer outing to the Catskills where he could say "goodbye for a season at least to my 'graven employments.'  The fields shall be my workshop and 'everlasting hills' and the leafy denizens my only study.  With what real pleasure . . . do we dwell on the future, especially when it is arched by the bow of providence and presents a picture wrought . . . by the fancy fingers of imagination."

In 1840 Casilear, who previously had tried unsuccessfully to get Kensett a place in Durand's shop, talked the very willing Kensett into joining himself, Durand, and Thomas Rossiter on a trip to Europe.  Leaving Kensett and Rossiter behind in England, Casilear and Durand went on with the grand tour, combining landscape painting in Switzerland and Italy with copying after the Old Masters in major galleries of France and Italy.

Casilear returned to New York and continued to engrave while he painted his pictures.  His landscapes, quite often of Lake George and the Hudson Valley, were done very much under the ideological influences of Durand - they are detailed and modest in conception.  His pictures did not demand attention, as one writer noted: 'Casilear's work is marked by a peculiarly silvery tone and delicacy of expression, which is in a pleasant accord with nature in repose and of his own poetically inclined feelings.' It is interesting that Durand, who recommended painting 'green,' cautioned the student recipient of his letters against hiding nature in grayish tones.

Casilear, who occasionally criticized Durand's work as too elaborate, was more interested in catching the delicate effects of atmosphere and summer mists.  His developed work is closely related to the more skilled Kensett's and to Luminism or 'air-painting,' as Gifford called it.  The Luminists, as they have come to be called, painted during the middle decades of the century, concentrating on capturing weather, light, and air effects.  Kensett and Gifford, among the New York groups, are counted among them, while elsewhere in New England such important figures as Fitz Hugh Lane and Martin Johnson Heade worked.

Source:
Howat, John K. James Biddle and Carl Carmer, The Hudson River and its Painters, American Legacy Press, New York, 1983, pages 40 & 41



Biography from Anderson Galleries:
Born in New York City, John Casilear was a leading Hudson River School painter, known for serene landscapes that reflect delicate detailing he learned as an engraver and his interest in Luminism or the reflection of light on natural forms.

He began his study with master engraver Peter Maverick and then studied landscape painting with Asher Durand. To earn money, Casilear worked for many years as an engraver for the American Bank Note Company and later with his own firm.

But his great love was landscape painting, which he exhibited beginning 1833, at the National Academy of Design. From 1840 to 1843, he traveled in Europe with Durand, John Kensett and Thomas Rossiter, but for most of his life, he worked either out of his studio in New York City or in upstate New York or in Vermont, where he spent many summers.

From 1854, he devoted himself to landscape painting and was a leader among the Hudson River School Luminist painters who focused on special effects of air, light, and mood. Views of Lake George were his most frequent subjects.

He was elected an Academician of the National Academy in 1851, and his work is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

He died in Saratoga, New York.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


John Casilear is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Hudson River School Painters



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