Charles Lanman (1819–1895)

Dubbed by the famous writer, Washington Irving, the “Picturesque explorer of the United States,” Charles F. Lanman was born in Monroe, MI, and went on to establish himself as an important landscape painter in Washington, D.C. Lanman was a student of Asher B. Durand and was strongly influenced by the styles of Thomas Cole, John Frederic Kensett and Frederic Church.

The artist brought his sophisticated Hudson River School style to Washington where he had a wide and profound influence. As William Gerdts records, “The most notable development in Washington painting in the years following the Civil War was the appearance of an increasingly active coterie of landscape painters…The most significant one to settle there at mid-century was Charles Lanman…. With his contemporary, William MacLeod, Lanman introduced the topographical Hudson River School style to the city.”

Lanman was a frequent exhibitor at the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Art Association, the American Art Union and the Society of Washington Artists, where he was also an active member. While he never neglected the duties of his art career, Lanman also distinguished himself as private secretary to Daniel Webster, librarian of the White House, secretary to the Japanese Legation in Washington, and cataloguer of W.W. Corcoran’s art collection. Today, Lanman’s paintings can be found in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, the Dartmouth University Art Gallery, and the Walters Art Museum.

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