Augustus Rockwell was born in 1822. Although not a primary member of the Hudson River School, his landscapes often display the delicate rendering of nature and unique treatment of light associated with this style. While little is known of Rockwell’s life and career, his relocation to Buffalo is documented by art historian William H. Gerdts in Art Across America. Gerdts notes that Rockwell moved to the northern New York city at the age of thirty and remained there for at least ten years. Although a seemingly strange choice of location, Buffalo did in fact present a viable means of living for artists. In addition to the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the city held yearly art exhibitions and boasted a number of patrons who drew the attention of artists such as American Impressionist, John Henry Twatchman. Rockwell also likely relocated to Buffalo to be near his brother, Simon Dennison Rockwell, a well-known printer who lived in the area.
In addition to painting well-designed and very competent landscapes, Rockwell was also an accomplished portraitist. The artist traveled throughout New York creating likenesses of figures such as Reverend Samuel Kirkland, a missionary and ambassador for Native Americans, and Millard Fillmore, thirteenth president of the United States. Today, Rockwell is known for both genres; however, his landscapes are the most widely collected. Rockwell’s paintings currently form part of the collections at the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, the Weir Collection at Riverbrink Gallery, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and Beloit College’s Wright Museum in Wisconsin.
Falk, Peter Hastings, ed.. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.
Gerdts, William H. Art Across American, The East and the Mid-Atlantic. Volume 1. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.
Unsigned article. “Buffalo’s Old Settlers Going.” New York Times, 12 February 1881.