Thomas Hill (1829–1908)
Thomas Hill was California’s most prominent painter in the nineteenth century, producing grand panoramic visions of the American Northwest. Born in England, Hill immigrated to America with his family and began his artistic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He soon devoted his talent to painting landscapes, making frequent trips to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with a group of artists including Asher B. Durand, George Inness, Benjamin Champney, and Albert Bierstadt. Yet it was in California that Hill’s career really took off. After settling in San Francisco in 1861, Hill became known as the “Artist of Yosemite” for his spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley and other Pacific sites. His paintings commanded huge prices and Hill experienced great acclaim, exhibiting at the National Academy of Design, the Boston Art Club, the Brooklyn Art Association, the Chicago Columbian Exposition, and the Universal Exposition in Paris. In 1871, he helped to found the San Francisco Art Association. His paintings now hang in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the White House.