Alexander Wyant Information and Inventory

Alexander Wyant

(1836 - 1892)

Alexander Wyant


A cursory review of biographical information in catalogues or other sources on Alexander Wyant neatly divides his work into two periods, stating he was a pure Hudson River School academic painter until 1873, when he suffered a stroke and paralysis of his right hand, his painting hand. Forced to learn to paint left-handed, thereafter, his work was looser, smaller in scope, and more somber in tone—the implication being the change of hand (and perhaps emotional impact) caused the diminishment of skills and style. Perhaps not that simple. Wyant firmly stated that his idols were his mentor George Inness, J. M. W. Turner, and J. B. C. Corot. It is probably more accurate to assert that Wyant was already departing from the panoramic, optimistic, site-specific, dramatically painted tenets of the Hudson River School artists to a more intellectually-driven, smaller, and more intimate scale and personal vision of the landscape prior to the 1873 stroke. But clearly its aftermath hastened this transition. Interestingly, it seems his loyal followers and supporters of his art did not abandon him; in fact, his more tonal landscapes seemed to capture a later 19th-century mood in America very successfully. Throughout his life and career, Wyant was highly respected for his intellect and artistic abilities. The first example of Wyant’s work I acquired, entitled The Clearing, was in 1973 from Sloan Gallery and reflects the later, more tonal style of work: limited in scope, more intimate in mood, with a silvery glow to the sky and reflection in the foreground brook. The second, larger example, which I saw around 1992 or so in a local gallery, I suspect is earlier, still somewhat transitional. The rocks and foreground details are more sharply delineated, yet that magical mystery is still evident especially in the sky where it meets the horizon line. The best of Wyant’s ethereal landscapes possess a poetry and the hint that maybe he, the artist, knows something that we, the viewers, don’t.

Alexander Wyant Gallery

No paintings by this author