Watercolor, 2.5 x 5 inches/Signed lower left
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No other artist so completely identified with the art life of Washington, D.C. than James Henry Moser. Moser was born in Whitby, Ontario. His father was an architect and moved the family frequently to supervise construction projects. One fortuitous move found the family in Columbus, Ohio in 1864 where young Moser visited the studios of, and was befriended by, the resident artists. Since his youth he included in his letters to friends a singular flourish--small pictures, no larger than three inches, a habit that continued throughout his life. Moser moved with his father and family to Toledo, Ohio where he began his professional art career in earnest. He traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 1876 Centennial Exposition. A move by the senior Moser in 1877 found the family in Galveston, Texas, where James opened a studio. A trip to New York City and Boston, Massachusetts in 1878 netted the sale of his water color paintings to the Knoedler Art Gallery in New York and Williams and Everett gallery in Boston. During another move in 1879, this time while traveling to Vicksburg, Mississippi on the steamboat Robert E. Lee, Moser met and, in his own words, had a “memorable conversation” with Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. During his time in Vicksburg, he began illustrating for Harper’s Magazine. A second move in 1879, found Moser in Atlanta, Georgia where his paintings were well received. Finally, after a seven year long wait, Moser married the love of his life, Martha Scoville at her family home in Cornwall, New York in 1883. In 1887, they moved to Washington, D.C., where he instructed the President’s wife, Mrs. William Henry Harrison in watercolors. His was an active life during the last decade of the 19th and early 20th centuries—he exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago; the Copley Society of Art (Boston); wrote art columns for the Washington Times, The Post and The Herald; instructed a class in water color at the Corcoran Gallery of Art; traveled to Germany, London and Paris; the first elected member of the American Water Color Society who resided outside of New York City; and was elected secretary of the Society of Washington Artists. All this while spending his summers in Cornwall with excursions to the Adirondack Mountains (New York); White Mountains (New Hampshire); and the Berkshires (Massachusetts) to sketch and paint. In 1901 he was invited to exhibit at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York and continued to exhibit at Copley’s and the Corcoran. His final honor came two years after his death in 1913, when his wife fulfilled Moser’s earlier promise to send paintings to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, CA.