Edward B. Gay associated with the leading figures in the Hudson River School and enjoyed critical success as a landscape painter in the second half of the nineteenth century. Born in Dublin, Gay immigrated to the United States with his family in the wake of the Potato Famine and spent the rest of his childhood in Albany. There, he began painting on the encouragement of the Hart brothers (William and James) and George Boughton, who gave him lessons in technique. Gay traveled to Germany in 1862 for further study, training under Johann Schirmer and Karl Friedrich Lessing in Karlsruhe. He settled in Mt. Vernon, NY in 1868 and became know for his paintings of the region’s farms, meadows, and rivers.
Gay’s style shifted in response to his trips to Europe, where he was exposed to the more expressive art of England and France. Inspired by the French Barbizon movement, Gay began painting pastoral scenes with a looser brushstroke and a marked attention to color, texture, and light. He continued painting landscapes along Westchester County and Long Island Sound until his death in 1928, dividing his time between Mt. Vernon and his summer home in the Cragsmoor artists’ colony.
Gay was an esteemed artist who was elected an academician of the National Academy of Design and exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery. He won prizes from the American Artist’s Association, the Society of American Artists, the National Academy of Design, the midwinter Exhibition of San Francisco, the New Orleans Exposition of 1885, the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, and the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. His work is now featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New York Historical Society, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, among other institutions.