Richards's career spanned the second half of the nineteenth century and the first five years of the twentieth. During these turbulent yet productive years, he created some of the most important and beautiful paintings in the history of American art. From 1854 through the 1860s, Richards concentrated upon landscapes of Pennsylvania and New York, earning his early reputation as a painter equally adept in the styles of the mainstream Hudson River School and the reformist American Pre-Raphaelites.
Woven throughout the installation are a medley of artist portraits that traces American masters from Benjamin West’s London studio to the mid-nineteenth century ateliers of New York. Highlights include works by Gerardus Duyckinck, Charles Willson Peale, Gilbert Stuart, Benjamin West, Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Birch, Thomas Buttersworth, William Sidney Mount, John F. Kensett, John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam.