Thomas Waterman Wood (1823–1903)

A prominent member of the New York art scene, Thomas Waterman Wood was a popular genre and portrait painter in the second-half of the nineteenth century. Born in Montpelier, Vermont, Wood studied under Chester Harding in Boston, after which he worked as a portrait painter in Quebec, Washington, D.C., New York, and Baltimore. In 1858, he traveled to Europe to continue his training in Düsseldorf and London. When he returned to the United States he spent time in Nashville and Louisville focusing on Civil War subjects. In 1867, Wood moved to New York City and became involved in several important art organizations: he was a founding member of the Artists’ Aid Society and acted as its president from 1869 to 1903, was elected as Academician of the National Academy of Design in 1871 and served as president from 1890 to 1900, served as president of the American Watercolor Society from 1878 to 1887, was a founding member of the New York Etching Club, and was also active in The Century Club. During this time he was acclaimed for his genre scenes, depictions of rural life, and as a painter of African-Americans. He participated in exhibitions at many important venues, including The Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Art Association, Boston Art Club, National Academy of Design, and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Wood’s namesake museum, the Wood Art Gallery in Montpelier, Vermont, holds more than 200 of his oils and watercolors and is compiling a catalogue raisonné for the artist. His works are also in the permanent collections of the Fenimore Art Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Shelburne Museum, and The Speed Art Museum.

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