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George W. King (American 1836 - 1930) Lakehouse Charm

Oil on canvas, 10 x 17.5 inches/Signed lower left

soldGeorge W. King (American 1836 - 1930)

George W. King, born in Auburn, New York, worked as a carpenter until he was 25 years old. He had always loved art and spent nearly every leisure moment drawing whatever suited his fancy on whatever material was at hand. King was not happy with his efforts and felt that he needed professional training. Although of limited means, he decided to take a risk and go to New York City to see what may come of his desire to become an artist. Circa 1861 he enrolled in a drawing class at the Cooper Union, where he met portraitist William Page. The kind and warm-hearted Page became his friend and benefactor who, when King’s finances were depleted, helped to find work in coloring photographs. Circa 1863 Page went so far as to invite King to live with him and his family in Englewood, NJ. While there, he met George Inness, who became his friend and mentor, giving King instruction in landscape painting, offering encouragement and overseeing King’s rapid progress. In 1864, King returned to Auburn and opened a studio, but returned to New York when he was unable to secure the necessary patronage to support himself. There he found employment making crayon heads, which provided him with the necessary funds to try again in Auburn. He stayed in Auburn for a while and then, circa 1868, moved to Oswego, located on Lake Ontario and was quite successful finding patronage and commissions. King had become a friend of landscape painter William Keith and naturalist John Muir and sketched with them in the Sierra Nevada in 1871. 1873 saw him in Venice, Italy making a careful study of its art. He returned to Auburn in 1875 and in 1876 moved to Philadelphia, PA, where he had a studio. Not content to stay in one place, in 1900 King moved to Utica, NY on the Mohawk River, at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains and opened a studio there. He moved again in 1902 after purchasing a home at Richfield Spring, NY, overlooking the Otsego Hills and Lake Canadurago. Having established his reputation as an artist and finding financial success, he was, in 1907, commissioned to paint four large canvases for the walls of the Oliver Hotel in South Bend, Indiana. Two of the paintings are of scenes of the South Bend area, one a scene in the Catskills and the fourth, a scene in the Mohawk valley. In an article for the Brookfield-Courier newspaper, in 1916, a writer said of King’s work, “he goes nature one better and introduces that subtlety and mystery which fascinates and creates a stronger love for the best in art.” The writer also wrote that “Mr. King is in a sense an impressionist sacrificing detail to quite an extent for broad and fascinating effects, but he is not of the slap dab order whose productions are ague rather than suggestive and leave everything to the imagination. There is a likeness in his work to that of Inness though he has an individuality all his own.” King was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association, where he exhibited. He also exhibited at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia); Boston Art Club; and the National Academy of Design (NYC).

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