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Artist Biography

 Levi Wells Prentice spent his childhood in upstate New York where he was surrounded by the beauty of the mountainous region. As a self-taught artist, he began his career depicting the picturesque mountains, lakes, and woodlands of the Adirondack region. In 1875 Prentice was praised in an edition of E.R. Wallace's Guide to the Adirondacks, creating popular appeal and interest in his images. During this time the Adirondack region became populated with tourists and sport enthusiasts. Prentice's paintings of camp sites encouraged the exploration of certain regions by viewers of his work who held hopes of experiencing the area for themselves. From Prentice's four excursions into the Adirondack Mountains, he painted over seventy landscapes between the years 1871 and 1890. Unlike his contemporaries, Prentice did not voyage abroad, and instead, concentrated on New York local scenes which were so familiar to him. Although Prentice often painted the Adirondacks, he also explored the pastoral landscapes of central and western New York, where he painted a series of views of Niagara Falls.

In 1883, Prentice and his wife of four years moved to Brooklyn, where a strong and close-knit art community was developing. Prentice became affiliated with the most prestigious organizations there: The Brooklyn Art Club and the Brooklyn Art Guild. Through theses art organizations, Prentice joined his peers, William Mason Brown and Joseph Decker who were pursuing the popular trend of still life painting. During this time, Prentice had developed four types of still life categories: simple tabletop arrangements of fruits or vegetables set in an undefined interior; more elaborate tabletop arrangements in a defined interior; fruit seemingly undisturbed in the landscape under a tree; and living fruit still attached to a bough or bush, growing outdoors in its natural setting. His still life paintings, like his landscapes, were vividly painted with sharp line and deep color.

Prentice's work can be found in all major museum collections throughout the United States, including the Adirondack Museum, the Masco Collection, the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; the Carniege Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; and the Detroit Institute of Arts.