William Trost Richards American, 1833-1905


As an artist William Trost Richards traveled extensively up and down the eastern coast of the United States. Rejecting the overly romantic and stylized approach of such other Hudson River painters as Jasper Cropsey or Worthington Whittredge, Richards instead preferred to capture his seascapes with an extraordinary realism. Such exquisite Luminist renderings and atmospheric qualities are present in his works that they are reminiscent in refinement and subject to the works of such American greats as Francis A. Silva and Alfred Thompson Bricher. 


From 1856 until 1867 William Trost Richards was best known for his still life and landscape paintings which were executed near his home in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Trained in metalwork and then as an illustrator his pictures were flawless and almost slavish photographic renditions of his subjects. It was in 1866 while studying abroad in England that Richards became fascinated with a storm at sea and began to study the structure of waves - their rise and fall - as well as how such a storm affected the water and the shoreline In the early 1870's, William Trost Richards returned from his studies abroad and purchased a summer home on Conanicut Island, just off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island.  Here he began to turn his attention solely to maritime subjects and as a result he began to develop his true appreciation for the ocean. Living in almost complete isolation with continuous access to the sea, Richards completed numerous paintings. It is these marine seascapes for which Richards is best remembered today and which make him one of America's truly great artists.


American Watercolor Society

National Academy, 1871


National Academy of Design, 1861-1899

Brooklyn Art Association, 1863-1885

Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA, 1871 (medal)

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1875 (medal)

Paris Exposition, 1889 (medal)

Museums and Public Collections

Ackland Art Museum

Addison Gallery of American Art

Art Institute of Chicago

Baltimore Museum of Art

Boston Athenaeum Library

Bowdoin College, Maine

Brandywine River Museum

Brooklyn Museum of Art

Butler Institute of American Art

Cantor Arts Center, Stanford

Charles Allis Art Museum

Cleveland Museum of Art

Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio

Columbus Museum, Georgia

Cooper-Hewitt Museum

Corcoran Gallery of Art

Emerson Gallery

Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museum

Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Frederic Remington Art Museum George Walter Vincent Smith Museum

Georgia Museum of Art

Heckscher Museum

High Museum of Art

Hood Museum of Art

Hunter Museum of American Art

Joslyn Art Museum

LaSalle University Art Museum

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield

National Academy of Design Museum

National Gallery of Art

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

New Britain Museum of American Art

New York Historical Society

Newark Museum

Oakland Museum of California

Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

Parrish Art Museum

Peabody Essex Museum

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Portland Art Museum

R W Norton Art Gallery

Reading Public Museum

Roswell Museum and Art Center

Saint Louis Art Museum

Seattle Art Museum

Sewell C Biggs Museum of American Art

Smith College Museum of Art

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Spartanburg County Museum of Art

Spencer Museum of Art

Terra Museum of American Art

Toledo Museum of Art

University of Michigan Museum of Art

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