The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages

formerly The Museums at Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY



Pencil to Paint to Print


A new exhibition, Pencil to Paint to Print, opens at The Long Island Museum of Art, History and Carriages on Sept. 30 and continues through Jan. 7, 2001. focusing on the works of renowned artists and brothers William Sidney Mount and Shepard Alonzo Mount, the exhibition explores the process that begins with an artist's preliminary ideas and~sketches.

Once embarked upon a picture, a painter would typically capture details and solidify ideas in pencil sketches and oil studies, which later would be incorporated into the finished painting. Printed copies of the paintings, in both color and black and white, could be produced in multiples and were much less expensive than paintings, which no one but the well-to-do-could afford. The works of both Mounts were reproduced in print form, which served to introduce them to a broad American audience, as well as to an international one. (left: William Sidney Mount (1807-1868), Dance of the Haymakers, 1845, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ward Melville, 1950)

The exhibition features the preliminary sketches and drawings and the completed paintings and prints of several Mount masterpieces to illustrate the "pencil to paint to print" theme.

Shepard Alonzo Mount (1804-1868) and William Sidney Mount (1807-1868), sons of Thomas Shepard Mount and Julia Ann Hawkins Mount, were born in Setauket, Long Island, and later moved with their widowed mother to nearby Stony Brook. After attending the National Academy of Design in New York City, the brothers entered into a brief portrait studio partnership in 1829. After that, they worked separately.

Shepard Mount was primarily a portrait painter, although he also created landscapes and still-life paintings. He traveled extensively, finding it easier to obtain portrait commissions if he went to his sitters, rather than waiting for them to come to him. His brother William pursued a different course. He began to paint genre pictures - scenes from everyday life - and these immediately became popular, both in the United States and abroad. By the middle of the 19th century, he was one of the most renowned artists in America, with more commissions than he could fill. Most of his most famous paintings were created in Stony Brook.

Shepard and William maintained an extremely close relationship, both as family members and as artists. In a letter to William in 1836, Shepard wrote, "I am satisfied as Brothers we possess to an unusual degree some undefinable principal of nearness to each other not by any means common to all."

The artist brothers died within a month of each other in 1868. A contemporary noted that they were comrades in death, even as they had been in life.

rev. 9/30/00

Read more about the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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