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Joseph Ryan Woodwell (1843 – 1911) Pre-civilization

Oil on canvas, 7.5 x 9.5 inches / Signed lowr right

Woodwell, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was exhibiting paintings when he was just 17. His father, recognizing talent, sent him to Paris where he studied under Charles Gleyre, who taught future Impressionist painters Renoir, Sisley, Monet and Pissaro. Gleyre taught his student how to execute ébauche (preliminary underpainting or quick sketch); however, he insisted on careful, tight drawings. Later Impressionists were criticized for elevating the ébauche to the level of a finished painting. Although Woodwell could be considered an Impressionist, he did not paint using the fractured brush strokes typical of the Impressionists, and he executed a traditional underpainting. Woodwell also studied at Barbizon with Millet and Charles Jacque, where he developed a Barbizon style. Once back in Pittsburgh, he joined George Hetzel, founder of the Scalp Level School, and his “summer band of brothers” to paint in Cambria and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania. Woodwell was active in the Pittsburgh and one of the original Carnegie International Trustees and was appointed by Andrew Carnegie to acquire artworks for the Carnegie Museum of Art. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, and the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

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