Hendrik Dirk Kruseman Van Elton
This Dutch-born, European-trained artist immigrated to America in 1865 and for more than thirty years distinguished himself as a consistent contributor to the major shows, achieving full National Academy status and maintaining a studio in the famous Tenth Street Studio building for over thirty years. Van Elton’s images show he painted throughout New York, especially in the Catskills, Connecticut (in the Litchfield County area), the Adirondacks, and Pigeon Cove on Cape Ann. Van Elton was extremely talented: in addition to oils and the exacting medium of etching, he was a gifted and prolific watercolorist. All that I have read about this artist is very complimentary of his skills and his work, yet acknowledges that it’s unclear how much he interacted with the amazing array of major American artists who also worked in the Tenth Street Studio building, artists such as Bierstadt (page 30) and Colman (page 104). I’ve seen a photograph of Van Elton and his wife in the Keene Valley along the Ausable River in the Adirondacks with Winslow Homer and J. Francis Murphy (page 82). So, clearly, Van Elton knew and came into frequent contact with America’s premiere artists of the day. Nevertheless, for reasons unknown to me, he returned to Europe in 1898, ultimately dying in Paris. The major oil in the collection by Van Elton, depicting an Adirondack scene, was acquired around 1990 from a personal friend. There was less information about the artist at that time, but I felt strongly it was a very competent major example by the artist and was pleased to acquire it. I suspect there is still more to learn about this gifted painter who contributed memorable images of our country before returning to his native Europe.