Richard William Hubbard
Richard William Hubbard was a prominent member of the Hudson River School known for his luminous, delicately-painted landscapes. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Hubbard attended Yale College before moving to New York City to pursue his painting career. He trained under Samuel F.B. Morse at New York University and spent two years in Europe studying the history of art. There, he drew inspiration from the paintings of Claude Lorraine, whose lyrical treatment of light and atmosphere had a lasting impact on his work.
Hubbard returned to New York in 1842 and quickly established himself in the leading art circles of the time. He set up his studio in the famed Tenth Street Studio Building and made frequent painting trips to the White Mountains and Catskills, often accompanied by Benjamin Champney, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Asher B. Durand, John Frederick Kensett, and David Johnson. He exhibited his landscape paintings alongside their work at all of the major venues, including the National Academy of Design, the American-Art Union, the Brooklyn Art Association, the Boston Art Club, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Despite his success, Middletown, Connecticut retained a special place in Hubbard’s memory, and he often returned to the area on his summer expeditions through New York and New England. His summer works represent the region’s pastoral beauty without sentimentality, depicting its grassy hills, craggy rocks, and leafy trees in tactile detail. Such intricate detail was a hallmark of Hubbard’s work, and he devoted his attention to creating small, deeply-worked paintings. The foremost art critic of the period, Henry Tuckerman, declared Hubbard’s paintings “gems of quiet beauty,” tying their graceful aesthetic to the “gentler, more thoughtful and dreamy impressions we derive from nature.”
As his career progressed, Hubbard was named an Associate and Academician at the National Academy of Design, served as a founder and President of the Artist’s Fund Society, was elected the third president of the Brooklyn Art Association, and received an honorary master’s degree from Yale University. Today, Hubbard’s work is featured in such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Peabody-Essex Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery.