Thomas Addison Richards

Artist Biography

Thomas Addison Richards was one of the nineteenth century’s most popular painters of the Southern landscape. Born in London, Richards grew up in the center of the American landscape movement: the area surrounding the Hudson River Valley in Hudson, New York. Lured by the mystery of the South, he set off in search of new vistas and new paths and began his professional career in Georgia and South Carolina. There he earned fame as a painter, printer, and art instructor before rejoining the art world in New York City. He traveled widely, finding fresh inspiration in the Catskill Mountains, the American West, and Europe, but continually returned to the Southern scenes that had first captured his imagination and established his renown.

His wide-ranging talent and versatility allowed him to carve out success in nearly every medium and genre: Richards was known for the landscape paintings, watercolors, illustrations, articles, and guidebooks that he based on his travels, as well as his fruit and floral still lifes, portraits, and seascapes. He became an influential member of the American art world, one who occupied an important post at the National Academy of Design for forty years, served as a professor of art at New York University for twenty, and arranged the first classes for women at the Cooper Union School of Art.

Richards exhibited at the National Academy of Design and the Brooklyn Art Association throughout his life; his paintings were also featured at the Boston Art Club, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the American Art Union, and the American Watercolor Society. His work is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Adirondack Museum, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, the Farnsworth Art Museum, and the Morris Museum of Art.

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