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 James Augustus Suydam  (1819 - 1865)

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Lived/Active: New York/New Hampshire      Known for: coastal-idyllic landscape and genre painting

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Ad Code: 2
James Augustus Suydam
from Auction House Records.
Conway Meadows
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Considered a second generation Hudson River School* painter and a follower of John Kensett, James Suydam, architect, lawyer and artist, is known for his peaceful, subtle, landscapes that give a poetic interpretation to nature in styles of Tonalism* and Luminism*.  In many of his paintings, he explored aerial perspective and the effects of water meeting land as well as light on these subjects, especially mid-day when the sky was clear.  Many of his works are low-horizoned panoramic views, but small in actual size.  Some paintings had small figures, engaged in farm tasks.

Suydam was born in New York City, and was a descendant from an old New York Dutch merchant family.  He graduated from New York University and for ten years until 1854, was in business with his brother, John R. Suydam. From then he devoted himself to painting and was a student of portraitist Minor C. Kellogg.  Together they traveled in Greece and Turkey, and also across the United States including upstate New York, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the coasts of New England and Long Island. At age 30, he was elected to the Century Association*, an exclusive private New York City club devoted to fine arts and literature.

A quiet, unassuming man, he remained a bachelor and had a very short career of only about 15 years as a painter.  He first exhibited in 1856, and left his entire painting collection and $50,000. to the National Academy of Design*, having died suddenly in 1865 at age 46 at North Conway, New Hampshire.  This collection was then shown as part of the Artists' Fund Society's* annual exhibition at the Academy.  Suydam had been voted an honorary member of the Academy in 1858 and was elected to full membership in 1861.

Sources include:
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
David Dearinger, (Editor), Paintings and Scultpure in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925
James Augustus Suydam", Wikipedia, //

* For references for these terms and others, see AskART Glossary

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

James Suydam is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Hudson River School Painters

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