Theme/Style – Landscape, genre scenes, still life, portraits
Media – Oils, watercolors
Artistic Focus – Though less well known than his brother Thomas Hill, Edward Hill was a productive painter in oil and watercolor for more than 60 years, producing images of the natural beauty of California as well as its people, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, southern genre scenes, and other subjects. While his early landscape work had a Tonalist quality, his later paintings became somewhat brighter and more impressionistic. Though Hill routinely painted attractive traditional landscapes, he was somewhat unique among the painters of his day in that he would also frequently include people going about their activities in many of his scenes, giving his paintings a lively, intimate quality.
Career Highlights –
- Edward Hill was born in Wolverhampton, England in 1843, the ninth of 10 children, and a year later the family moved to the U.S., settling in Taunton, Massachusetts.
- After working with his brother Thomas Hill (1829-1908) as a furniture painter at the Heywood-Wakefield Company in Gardner, Massachusetts, Hill began traveling often to the western U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- In San Francisco, Hill shared a studio with brother Thomas in 1862-1863 and again in 1872. He painted many California landscapes and exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association in 1873 and the Oakland Industrial Exposition in 1896. The brothers also traveled together to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
- Still maintaining strong ties with New England, beginning in the 1870s Hill was artist-in-residence at the Profile House in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire for 15 summers. He exhibited with the Boston Art Club during the 1880s, gaining financial success and a solid artistic reputation with his paintings of the White Mountains and maintaining a studio in Bethlehem, New Hampshire in the early 1890s.
- A constant traveler throughout his career, Hill studied in Europe in 1891, and would go on to spend time throughout the U.S., living and working in Denver, Colorado; Utah (exhibiting at the Utah State Fair in 1909); Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon; as well as the American South.
- By 1911 Hill had settled in the Pacific Northwest, residing in Hood River, Oregon and exhibiting at the Portland Library in 1914.
- Hill briefly maintained a studio in Los Angeles during 1920 and 1921 before he passed away in Hood River in 1923.
- Retrospective exhibitions of Edward Hill’s paintings include “Edward Hill: A Man of His Time” at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire (1985) and “Nature’s Nobleman: Edward Hill and His Art” at the New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord (1989-1990). His work is in the collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH.