William Merritt Post
A thoroughly American-trained artist, William Merritt Post fell early on under the influence of Hugh Bolton-Jones, who also became a lifelong friend. Post seems to slip quietly into the chasm between academic 19th- century painting and the more spontaneous strong colorism of the Impressionists. His fondness for the rural landscape with the ever-present meandering stream, generally in autumn colors, dominated much of his life’s output. Like many artists, Post made New York City his base of operations, with frequent forays to New Jersey and Connecticut, until about mid-career. In 1912, he retreated permanently to rural West Morris, Connecticut, and the Bantam River became the dominant theme in his landscapes. Though the medium of oil tended to dominate Post’s work, he was exceptionally proficient in watercolor and rarely-seen pastels as well. Tonalists like Post seem to have had an affinity for winter scenes (J. F. Murphy, Bruce Crane, H. B. Jones, to name a few in this collection) even though they are rare, and it is this combination of pastel and winter that cap- tured my attention at a Skinner auction in 2002. It is not a typical William Merritt Post, which is partly why I’m so fond of the picture.