Oil on canvas, 23 x 17.5 inches / Signed lower left
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Powell was born to landed gentry at Levinworth Manor in Upperville, Virginia. During the American Civil War, Powell joined the 11th Virginia Cavalry at the tender age of 17, seeing action at Petersburg, Richmond and Farmville, Virginia. Following the war, Powell, left for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and later with renowned Hudson River landscapist Thomas Moran in New York City. Fascinated with landscape paintings by British painter J.M.W. Turner, Powell travelled to London in an effort to master his techniques, and while there, he studied at the London School of Art. In 1901 Powell accompanied a U.S. Geological Survey expedition to the American Southwest just as Thomas Moran had done years earlier. Theodore Roosevelt admired his paintings; however, Mary Henderson, wife of Senator John B. Henderson of Missouri, co-author of the 13th amendment, was his greatest patron. Believing Powell to be an artistic genius, Mrs. Henderson set up a studio in her Washington home and supported him for many years. Former FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover also owned many of Powell’s paintings. He was the first artist to hold an exhibition on an ocean liner on one of his return trips to the United States. Powell was a member of the Society of Washington Artists and the Washington Water Color Club.