A very successful and prominent member of the second generation of Hudson River School artists, Hart emigrated from Scotland in 1831 with his artist brother James and sister Julia, settling down in Albany, New York. As Hart is best known for his landscapes, a pure luminous coastal scene like this is rare, and really shows his extraordinary ability to achieve the distinctive luminosity of Sanford Gifford (page 28) and J. F. Kensett (page 26). I fell for this painting on one of my visits to Kennedy Galleries in 1970. My friend and Kennedy employee once again allowed me to cruise through the racks seeking overlooked pieces, and up popped this William Hart. Interestingly, some years later I received a letter from the Nelson Atkinson Museum stating that they had seen this Hart in an article I had written and wanted to inform me that they had a larger but identical image by William Hart. The smaller version is dated 1864, and the museum’s piece 1865. In 1985, I located a second William Hart, which was more representative of his landscape work. Having seen numerous pieces over the years, I’ve come to recognize a special quality of light and luminosity he seemed to achieve with small pictures on wood panels, almost as if the texture and tone of the wood itself contributed to the appearance of the finished piece. I bought this from Howard Godel in 1985, and these remarks about the contribution of the wood are actually mine, not Howard’s salesmanship.