Oil on board, 9.63 x 6.63 inches/Signed lower left
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Wall was born in Mount Pleasant, PA, the son of a sculptor and younger brother of artist William Coventry Wall. He and his brother, William Coventry Wall, moved to Pittsburgh, PA in the 1840s, and shared a studio in the Burke building on Fourth Avenue, which now houses the headquarters of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Like his brother William, Wall never had formal training, but that was no impediment to his success as an artist. Wall supported his family painting portraits; however, it was landscapes at which he exceled. He was a member of the â€śScalp Level School,â€ť a group of artists led by another prominent Pittsburgh artist, George Hetzel, who convened every summer from the mid-1860s through early 1900s at Scalp Level, east of Johnstown, PA, to paint en plein air. In 1868 Wall joined the firm of J.J. Gillespie & Co., which displayed the work of some of the Scalp Level artists. Wallâ€™s skill as an artist; his passion, coupled with his discerning eye for art, helped to establish Gillespieâ€™s as a hub for Pittsburgh artists, and the â€śgo-toâ€ť place for Pittsburgh industrialists and wealthy professionals to buy art. Wall served as an art consultant, and many of the paintings found in Pittsburgh homes and other venues were purchased upon his recommendation. In 1874, Wall became the first secretary of the newly formed Pittsburgh Art Society, of which he helped organize. At the time, Pittsburgh lacked a public art gallery, and Wall through his tireless effort, had persuaded many wealthy Pittsburgh to loan their art to the exhibition. Known as the â€śLoan Art Exhibition,â€ť its success led to an endowment by Andrew Carnegie to create a public art gallery as part of his greater plans that included a public library and concert hall in the Pittsburghâ€™s East End. In fact, Wall was a charter member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Art Museum, and a member of its Fine Arts Committee. Wall painted a life-size portrait of Andrew Carnegie which hung in the Carnegie Free Library. Wall exhibited with the Pittsburgh Associated Artists (1859, 1860); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia, 1867, 1879).
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