Frederick J. Sykes

Artist Biography

Described as “a combination of Hudson River School and Magic Realism” in a 1997 New York Times exhibition review, the work of Frederick J. Sykes seemingly defies the traditional stylistic terms used to define paintings of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.[1] Born in England in 1851, Sykes immigrated to the United States and resided in Brooklyn during the 1880s. The artist’s residency after this period is difficult to determine; however, his paintings show that he frequented vistas found in the Hudson River Valley during the 1890s. In 1900, he traveled further afield, creating works that recorded the exotic landscapes and jungles of Mexico. Painting in bright tones with an almost hyper-realistic approach, Sykes’s oeuvre has been compared to that of fellow artist Levi Wells Prentice.[2] Exhibitions of the artist’s work were held in 1992 and 1997; a monograph on his paintings was also published in 1992 entitled From Real to Surreal: the Landscapes of Frederick J. Sykes.

[1] “Art Guide,” New York Times, November 14, 1997.
[2] The majority of this biography has been extracted from Peter Hastings Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America Vol. III (Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999), p. 3236.

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