Gloucester, Stage Fort Beach
This serene panorama exemplifies the mid-nineteenth-century development of Hudson River School painting that scholars have termed Luminism, in which artists meticulously painted effects of light specific to different times of day. Fitz Henry Lane’s expansive sky, taking up over half the canvas, and the mirror-like bay that reflects it are classic elements of the style. The artist’s refined use of color, nuances of tinted light, and crystalline surfaces of calm waters would come to define his unique and celebrated technique.
Lane spent most of his career painting around his hometown of Gloucester, on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, which was a bustling maritime center. Northeast of town, the geography of the Gloucester Harbor allowed him to paint this view west of a sunset glow on the horizon, heralding the end of a day.