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Artist Biography

Born and raised in Philadelphia, William Trost Richards began his artistic career working as an illustrator for a gas fixture company while studying painting privately with Paul Weber. In 1852 he exhibited his first landscapes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Three years later he traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany with Weber and William Stanley Haseltine to study painting, and there he met Albert Bierstadt and Emanuel Leutze. He also traveled to France and Italy before returning to Philadelphia in 1856.

By 1871 Richards’ efforts were largely devoted to studying and painting the American coastal topography from New Jersey to Maine. He began to work more frequently in the medium of watercolor, and in 1874 he joined the American Society of Painters in Water Colors and contributed regularly to the Society’s exhibitions for the rest of his life. From the 1870s until his death in 1905, Richards found new subject matter on his numerous trips to Europe and to the American West, but he never stopped painting the coastal scenes and seascapes of the Northeast for which he became so famous.

His work is housed in many prominent institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA; and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.