Although he did not turn to painting as a profession until 1855, McEntee lost no time in propelling himself into the heart of the art world—renting space at the Tenth Street Studio Building and studying at the National Academy under perhaps the most famous of all Hudson River School painters, Frederic E. Church. He kept good company—traveling abroad with Sanford R. Gifford, and at home in the Northeast with Worthington Whittredge. His wife was a genial hostess, and the couple frequently entertained the other occupants at the Studio. McEntee figured prominently in the established art community in New York’s Gilded Age, as represented by the National Academy of Design, the Century Club, and the Tenth Street Studio. McEntee's works are housed at institutions such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.