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Jervis McEntee

Jervis McEntee (1828-1891), Mount Desert Island, Maine, 1864, oil on canvas, John Wilmerding Collection

Jervis McEntee first studied landscape painting with Frederic Church. He worked alongside Church, Sanford R. Gifford, and Worthington Whittredge in the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York, and was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1861. McEntee and Gifford were close friends, and they often went on sketching expeditions together to "enjoy the wild beauty of the lovely lakes and mountains...." This optimistic and celebratory painting, filled with naturalistic effects of light and atmosphere, shows an artist and adventurer actively taming nature. It can be debated whether the essentially anonymous figure with its back turned to the viewer in this work is Gifford or McEntee, but regardless of the identification, the painting was clearly inspired by the experience of one artist seeing the other alone at work in the landscape. Inevitably, Mount Cadillac became accessible to tourists; by the 1880s, in the wake of the building of a railway to the summit, the once remote location was drawing thousands of summer visitors.
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