Along with his younger brother Ernest, Arthur Parton was a central member of the Hudson River School. Born in Hudson, New York, Arthur trained under William Trost Richards at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and began exhibiting in Philadelphia at the age of twenty-two. Richards’ influence can be seen throughout his early work, which followed the naturalistic mode of the Hudson River School. After spending a year in Europe in 1869, he began to experiment with the style of the Barbizon School, creating pastoral landscapes with softer brushwork and a pronounced attention to tone. As he incorporated aspects of Luminism, Tonalism, and Impressionism into his landscapes, his work came to exemplify the diversity of American art in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Parton spent the majority of his career in New York, establishing a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building and painting throughout the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. He enjoyed widespread recognition; his painting of the Shenandoah River was published in William Cullen Bryant’s Picturesque America and he won medals and prizes from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, the American Art Association, and the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. His work is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Hudson River Museum, the High Museum of Art, and the Washington Country Museum of Fine Arts.