Fine early pencil drawing on wove paper, the subject a distant view of Windsor Castle and the Thames River (favorite subject of so many, many artists), signed at lower right "James M. Hart" and dated there 1855. This is a rather early work of JAMES MACDOUGAL HART (1828-1901) of later Hudson River School fame. Hart's major large scale landscape paintings have reached into six figures at auction, and sales in the tens of thousands are not unusual. The artist was born in Kilmarnock, Scotland and was brought to America as a youth, living near Albany, New York, where he worked for a time as a sign painter. While still young he returned to Europe for art training, studying ultimately in Dusseldorf and Munich. By 1853 he had returned to the United States. Hart's career progression was steady. Having first exhibited at the National Academy in 1848, by 1859 he was made a full member and towards the end of his life, he served in an executive capacity there. Hart is known for his cattle and landscape paintings in the Hudson River tradition. This drawing was evidently made shortly after his return from Europe, perhaps based on memories or other sketches he had made while in England. One can already see the feathery trees, and cattle, of his mature style, even though the artist would have only been 27 when this was sketched. There is considerable foxing and discoloration. This was found as-is, unframed, in a large portfolio of drawings and prints. Size is 10" by 13". Framed and protected, it will carry on as an early work by a major Hudson River figure. Drawings and sketches by Hart seem to be rare; there are very few in the auction history.
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