Worthington Whittredge was one of the most artistically experimental painters of America's Hudson River school. A contemporary of other key school figures such as Jasper Francis Cropsey, Sanford Robinson Gifford, and Frederic Edwin Church, Whittredge created landscapes that were still critically and popularly admired in the 1870s and 1880s, long after the earlier style had fallen out of fashion. Unlike many of his fellow painters, Whittredge had firsthand knowledge of European landscape painting, and he was especially receptive to the aesthetics of French Barbizon and impressionist art. In painting this radiant and freely brushed work, the artist demonstrated his mastery of these newer styles of landscape painting and also created one of the outstanding American landscapes of the era.
By the time Whittredge painted Second Beach, it had long been one of the favored recreational sites of wealthy Americans who built their lavish summer homes in the town of Newport, Rhode Island. Here we see fashionably dressed figures testing the waters and enjoying the splendors of a beautiful day; in the background a horse-drawn carriage ferries others from one end of the beach to the other. Stopped in time and fixed indelibly through the clarity of artistic vision, this scene was recorded by Whittredge with a sensibility that perfectly matched its ineffable beauty.
lower left: W.Whittredge.
Thomas Barlow Walker [1840-1928], Minneapolis, by 1925; T.B. Walker Foundation, Minneapolis; gift 1976 to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; (sale, Sotheby's, New York, 24 May 1989, no. 31); private collection; Juliana [Mrs. Peter] Terian, New York; purchased 27 May 2004 through (David Nisinson Fine Art, New York) by NGA.
- Possibly Exhibition of Paintings and Sketches by Worthington Whittredge, The Century Club, New York, 1909, no. 3, as Bishop Berkeley's Seat--Newport, R.I..
- The Hudson River School and the Early American Landscape Tradition, Art Institute of Chicago; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1945, no. 163, repro., as Third Beach, Newport.
- The Coast and the Sea. A Survey of American Marine Painting, Brooklyn Museum, 1948-1949, no. 128, as Third Beach, Newport.
- Painters of Ohio's Past, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Ohio; Dayton Art Institute; Akron Art Institute; Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art, 1953, no. 41, as Third Beach Newport.
- Early New Jersey Artists, 18th and 19th Centuries, Newark Museum, 1957, no. 104, as Third Beach, Newport.
- The Hudson River School, University of North Carolina, Raleigh, 1960-1962.
- Four Centuries of American Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1963-1964, unnumbered catalogue, as Third Beach, Newport.
- The Seashore: Paintings of the 19th and 20th Centuries, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1965, no. 35, repro., as Third Beach, Newport.
- Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910): A Retrospective Exhibition of an American Artist, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica; Albany Institute of History and Art; Cincinnati Art Museum, 1969-1970, no. 30, repro. (shown only at Utica).
- The American Arts: A Celebration, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1970.
- American Marine Painting, Virginia Museum, Richmond; Mariner's Museum, Newport News, 1976, no. 38, repro.
- American Light: The Luminist Movement 1850-1875, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980, fig. 140.
- Quiet Places: The American Landscapes of Worthington Whittredge, Adam Davidson Galleries, Washington, D.C., 1982, no. 31, repro.
- The Eden of America: Rhode Island Landscapes, 1820-1920, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1986, no. 27, repro.
- American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1987-1988, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Worthington Whittredge Retrospective, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1990.
- Whittredge, Worthington. The Autobiography of Worthington Whittredge 1820-1910. Ed. John I.H. Baur. New York, 1942 (reissued 1969): repro.
- Sweet, Frederick A. "Painters of the Hudson River School." Antiques XLVII, no. 3 (March 1945): 160, fig. 6, repro.
- Sadayoshi, Omoto. "Old and Modern Drawings; Berkeley and Whittredge at Newport." The Art Quarterly XXVII, no. 1 (1964): 42-56, fig. 8, as Third Beach, Newport.
- Sadayoshi, Omoto. "The Sketchbooks of Worthington Whittredge." Art Journal 24, no. 4 (Summer 1965): 334-335, fig. 14, as Third Beach, Newport.
- Wilmerding, John. A History of American Marine Painting. Boston and Toronto, 1968: 77, fig. 51.
- Baur, John I.H. The Autobiography of Worthington Whittredge 1820-1910. New York, 1969: repro. opp. 51.
- Butler, Joseph T. "The American Way with Art." The Connoisseur 173, no. 696 (February 1970): 146-147, fig. 8.
- The Romantic Vision: 19th Century American Landscape Painting in the Walker Art Center Permanent Collection. Minneapolis, 1978: 13, 14, fig. 10.
- Van Siclen, Bill. "Through Artist's Eyes." Sunday Journal Magazine [Providence, Rhode Island] (26 January 1986): 8, repro.
- Wilmerding, John. American Marine Painting. Rev. ed. of A History of American Marine Painting, 1968. New York, 1987: 57, fig. 47.
- Janson, Anthony F. Worthington Whittredge. New York, 1989: 164-165, fig. 123, pl. XV.
- Danto, Arthur C. Encounters & Reflections. Art in the Historical Present. New York, 1990: 142-143.
- Kelly, Franklin. "Worthington Whittredge, Second Beach, Newport." Bulletin / National Gallery of Art, no. 32 (Fall 2004): 19-20, repro.