Untitled Document

Artist Biography

References:

Peter Hastings Falk, Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999)

John Driscoll, All That is Glorious Around Us: Paintings From the Hudson River School (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press)


John Williamson was born in Tollcross, Scotland, near the city of Glasgow on April 10, 1826. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1831 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Williamson studied at the Graham Art School and the Brooklyn Institute. By 1850, Williamson had exhibited at the National Academy of Design; he continued to contribute paintings to the annual exhibitions for the next thirty-five years.

Popular for his landscapes in the Hudson River School style, Williamson traveled up the Hudson River to Lake George, painting in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains. In the Wilderness shows his most archetypal scene—Native Americans perched on a cliff looking out over the landscape. Williamson also traveled throughout New England and painted in the Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts, White Mountains, New Hampshire, Green Mountains, Vermont, as well as the Mohawk and Connecticut valleys. His views of the Hudson and New England indicate his awareness of the work of Sanford Robinson Gifford and Thomas Cole. During the early 1860s, he developed an interest in painting still life, favoring lilacs, morning glories, cherries, and raspberries.

Williamson was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1861. He exhibited at such New York venues as the National Academy of Design, American Art-Union, and the Brooklyn Art Association, as well as in Boston, Washington D.C., and at the Utica Art Association. He was a founding member of the Brooklyn Art Association., where he also served as secretary from 1861-68. He was also one of the original members of the Artists' Fund Society.

Williamson’s work can be found in such public collections as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; The Hudson River Museum, New York; Maier Museum of Art, Virginia; and the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Virginia. He died in Glenwood-on-the-Hudson in 1885.