Walter Palmer Information and Inventory

Walter Palmer

(1854 - 1931)

Walter Palmer


For some artists, the rare lucky ones, their whole environment supports and nourishes the arts. The sculptor Erastus Palmer was Walter’s father, and frequent houseguests and friends were Hudson River giants William Hart, Homer Dodge Martin, John F. Kensett, and Edward Gay. Frederic Church was an early teacher, mentor, and lifelong friend. Palmer was exhibiting at The National Academy of Design by age eighteen. My awareness of the artist, like most who know his work, comes from his trademark winterscapes. Simply put, nobody is better, especially in the medium of gouache and watercolor, at exploring the breadth of colors and light effects on snow. Palmer took reflected light— blues, pinks, and yellows—to levels approaching fantasy, yet still believable. Palmer is the perfect transition between the tight academic Hudson River School approach to snow and the pure Impressionists, such as Twachtman and later Redfield and Symons. My preference for Palmer’s totally distinctive treatment of watercolor, gouache, and occasionally even crayon, is reflected in both of my choices for winterscapes by the artist: the first larger forest interior piece in 1977 and a very appealing second example that reveals his earlier (1890) experimental use of heavy application of gouache. Both pieces were acquired from Ken Lux Gallery. Unquestionably, Walter Palmer is a highly collectible, sought-after artist, but I believe that artists who neatly fit into defined “schools” of painting have a tendency to rise with the success of the whole school, whether it’s Taos, New Hope, or Old Lyme. Palmer’s productive years were spent in Albany, New York, clearly not the center of any significant production of art; thus, his reputation is based solely on his own output. Consider where Walter Palmer might be if his last quarter century had been spent in New Hope, not Albany.

Walter Palmer Gallery

No paintings by this author