Henry Roderick Newman USA

5-1833 Easton, USA - 1-16-1918 Florence, ITA

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Newman, Henry Roderick

A self-taught artist, Henry Roderick Newman was influenced by John Ruskin’s landscape and nature scenes. He was persuaded to follow in his father’s path as a physician, but in 1861, with the death of his father, Newman abandoned his studies and immediately took up painting. His mother gave him one year to prove himself as an artist and so he spent six months painting in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The results were several highly finished nature studies, three of which were exhibited later that year at the National Academy of Design.

Paintings of Italian architecture became Henry Roderick Newman’s specialty after he found he could not be successful painting conventional landscape and floral paintings. Due to the support of Ruskin, Newman enjoyed considerable status during his time as an American painter in Europe. He traveled widely and spent much time in Europe, Egypt, and Japan; always making the depictions of architecture his major focus. In June 1883, Newman married and the couple settled permanently in Florence where he held a studio that attracted such luminaries as the Brownings, Henry James, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. From 1888 to 1891 and again in 1894, Newman wintered in Egypt. Newman traveled to Japan in the late 1890s.

Along with John Bunyon Bristol, Newman was one of the first significant American painters to paint in Florida. He was attracted to the area for health reasons, and painted in the area of St. Augustine from 1868 until the summer of 1869. Some of these paintings were later acquired by his friend and patron, John Ruskin, the English aesthetician, with whom he traveled. In 1872, Newman moved to Florence, Italy to study painting and was inspired by the architecture he found there as well as the masterpieces by Giotto, Masaccio, and Fra Angelico.

Art Movement: Naturalism
Influences: John Ruskin
Traveled: France, Italy, Egypt, Japan

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