Oil on canvas, 29.75 x 44.5 inches/Signed lower left
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Wall was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of noted Pittsburgh artist Alfred S. Wall and nephew of William Coventry Wall, also a noted Pittsburgh artist. His only art instruction was that provided by his father and uncle. As part of the second generation of Scalp Level School, founded by another well-known Pittsburgh artist, George Hetzel. Still in his teens, Wall had begun exhibiting at the National Academy of Design in New York City and began gaining recognition in his own right. His focus in the early years was still-life painting and portraiture; his best-known portraits are of industrialists Andrew Carnegie and Harry Darlington, and Mrs. Henry Clay Frick. His attention shifted to paintings of sheep in pastoral settings, to the extent that he became known as the "sheep painter." His brushwork is somewhat loose, reminiscent of the French Barbizon School style, embraced by the Scalp Level artists; however, his later works, apparently influenced by Impressionism, are executed with a lighter palette and looser brush work. Wall had maintained a studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a while and became friends with Thomas Eakins. Eakins painted a portrait of Wall, which is now in the permanent collection of Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine. He was a trustee of the Carnegie Institute from its inception in 1896 and after his father’s death, served with the Fine Arts Committee in selecting art for the permanent collection. Wall exhibited at the national Academy of Design; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Worlds Columbian Exhibition (Chicago 1892); Art Institute of Chicago; and Corcoran Gallery (Washington, D.C.).