Fine Art/Possible Hudson River School paintings
Dear Mr. Cartwright:
I own three paintings that have been in my family for at least 60 years. They appear to be oil on canvas or possibly canvas on board. I do not know how they were acquired by my parents. I have been advised by knowledgeable art collectors that these are from the Hudson River School. I am unable to find a signature on the face and have not removed them from their frames (not the original frames, I am certain). Can you possibly tell me anything about them? The larger one measures approximately 12" x 10 1/2" and the two smaller ones are each 5 1/2" x 7 1/4". The smaller two are clearly by the same artist -- I am not sure about the larger one. Since I was only able to attach one photo to this email, I am sending these to you in three separate emails. I live in Georgia but I visit NYC fairly regularly and take them there. Many thanks for any assistance you can offer!!
You are correct about the frames.
If I were you, I'd remove the paintings very carefully from the frame,
get large hi-res digital snapshots of (1) the entire canvas (2) closeup of any signature and (3) entire backside.
That will save you a lot of legwork, because you can shoot images to dealers or auction houses anywhere very quickly.
Often a signature is hidden underneath the frame skirt, or in the dark shadows at the bottom of the picture. Get a good light on that area, and you might, with a modicum of saliva on your fingertip, lightly brush through that area. Sometimes, a signature will pop. Also, if there is a backing on the picture, removing it may find an inscription on the canvas back.
You can find my contact info at www.cartwrightfineart.com and send me bigger hi-res pictures than AllExperts permits. Of all three artworks.
Last, a word about what the Hudson River School is and isn't. Referencing the Hudson River School is a pointer to a particular group of mid-nineteenth century American landscape artists who redefined landscape painting in America. Many resided in NYC, many did not. There was no specific "school" or "colony", rather than a geographic designation, HRS really refers to a style and ethic for depicting the new American landscape. While many famous artists established this "school" of painting (Cole, Durand, Bricher, Johnson, Kensett and more) hang importantly in museums, one can find an seemingly infinite supply of dark old paintings, many highly primitive, that are referred to generously as "in the Hudson River Style" or "of the Hudson River School".
Hope some of this helps.