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White Mountains (Mount Washington from Sunset Hill, North Conway)

Accession Number
1895.44

Title
White Mountains (Mount Washington from Sunset Hill, North Conway)

Artist(s)
L. Luthy

Object Creation Date
circa 1854

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

Dimensions
32 in x 42 in (81.28 cm x 106.68 cm);32 in x 42 in (81.28 cm x 106.68 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Henry C. Lewis

Label copy
March 28, 2009
Reaching the White Mountains once required a long and arduous journey, but by 1851 it was possible to take a train with relative ease to within eight miles of Mt. Washington. North Conway became an especially popular tourist destination, and by the 1850s it was home to arguably the first artist’s colony in the United States. Luthy is one of the many artists who flocked to the region and painted more than 400 views of the White Mountains in the second half of the 19th century. The view of Mt. Washington from Sunset Hill in North Conway—the one first made famous by John Kensett—was a particularly popular vantage point from which to observe and paint this icon of American scenery. The demand for paintings of Mount Washington came both from tourists, who provided a ready market for souvenir paintings, and from those who had never visited but were nevertheless familiar with the site from paintings or literature. Though Luthy’s view, like Hodgdon’s, centrally features Mt. Washington, there are differences in details—houses are nestled in the valley, there is no snow on the mountain, and the summer sky is clear—and it seems like an altogether less forbidding place.

Subject matter
During the nineteenth century, the White Mountains in New Hampshire attracted the attention of European as well as American painters. This is one of three known views of Mount Washington from Sunset Hill by Luthy, who, like many American painters during the mid-19th century, viewed nature as divine. In "White Mountains" he utilizes the traditional tenets of the picturesque landscape, but infuses his work with emblems of an optimistic and expanding nation through his incorporation of the small village of North Conway in the foreground.

Physical Description
Landscape painting with mountain peak at center and rolling mountains to either side; valley in foreground with houses hidden among trees in deep shadow and along hillside; blue sky above with wispy clouds.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
landscape

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Landscapes
clouds
houses
landscapes (environments)
mountains
sky
trees
valleys
villages

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved