Henry Ary: Mount Merino and South Bay
||Painter Henry Ary was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and came to live in Hudson in 1844 when he was in his thirties. He painted in and around Hudson for most of his career and lived here for the rest of his life.Ary began his career as a portrait painter in Albany. In 1833, he moved to Catskill where he met painter Thomas Cole and, inspired by the beauty of the Hudson Valley and encouraged by Cole, began painting landscape subjects. Ary taught painting at the Hudson Female Academy where Elihu Gifford, father of Sanford Gifford, was a trustee. Ary and Gifford went on sketching trips together in the Catskills, and it has been said that the older Ary was an influence on the younger artist. Ary also instructed Hudson River School artist John Bunyan Bristol.
The landscape surrounding the City of Hudson in the nineteenth century offered artists interesting compositions with contrasting textures of mountains, water and flat shoreline. The view of Mount Merino from Hudson was widely painted at this time, but no artist painted this scene more than Henry Ary. Until the 1850’s, Mount Merino and South Bay were known mostly for their agricultural and commercial purposes. It was Henry Ary’s paintings of this site that focused attention on the natural beauty of this landscape.The latter half of the nineteenth century brought changes to South Bay below Mount Merino, including the introduction of rail service. The railroad began laying tracks along the river in 1847, and by 1851, the New York & Harlem Railroad opened service from Manhattan to Rensselaer. The Hudson River landscape painters tended to work around the physical additions to the local landscape focusing their imagery on themes of natural beauty, but Ary chose more often than not to include the man-made additions to the landscape in his compositions.Mount Merino and South Bay, Hudson, New York, Autumn Twilight is a fine example of Henry Ary’s artistic perspective, rendering the view of Mount Merino and South Bay to include the railroad tracks that run along the Hudson River. He painted this same view many times before the railroad tracks were laid prior to 1847, and afterward. Unlike most of his paintings, Mount Merino and South Bay, Hudson, New York, Autumn Twilight shows this familiar view at a different time of day. Twilight in the Hudson Valley can be spectacularly beautiful, with the setting sun bursting through clouds over the mountains, casting the whole valley in a purplish light that is hard to replicate. Ary has captured the tone and beauty of this light at the same time that he shows us that manmade additions to the landscape are permanent and should not be overlooked. It is an impressive view of our local landscape and a progressive philosophical view of what landscape painting was in Hudson in the nineteenth century.
We are very pleased to offer this painting in our October 25th-26th Fine Auction, Lot 822, Henry Ary (1802-1859): View of Mount Merino and South Bay, Hudson, NY, Autumn Twilight, oil on canvas, with an estimate of $20,000 – $40,000.