Thomas Hill Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions

9-11-1829 Birmingham, ENG - 6-30-1908 Raymond, California USA

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Hill, Thomas

Thomas Hill (the painter) emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 15. At the age of 24, Thomas Hill attended night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and studied under history painter Peter Frederick Rothermel. While he was a student at the Academy, Hill traveled to the White Mountains in New Hampshire in 1854 and sketched with some members of the Hudson River School. After finishing his studies at the Academy, Thomas Hill and his family moved to San Francisco in 1856.

With painter Virgil Williams and photographer Carleton Watkins, Thomas Hill made his first painting trip to the Yosemite Valley in 1865. The following year, Hill traveled to the East Coast and from there to England and France. After nine years living in San Francisco, he moved his family back to the East Coast but continued to take sketching trips to the West Coast and to attend meetings of the San Francisco Art Association. The back and forth travel was too much so he moved his family back to San Francisco in 1873 and opened an art gallery to display his paintings and an art supply store. He was a savvy investor and besides making money on his art and businesses, he was able to live well on his stock market investments.

Thomas Hill made yearly sketching trips to Yosemite, Mount Shasta, and to the White Mountains back east, he even went to Alaska to paint. Thomas Hill 1865 oil painting View of the Yosemite Valley was chosen to be the backdrop of the head table at Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon. Thomas Hill's most well-known and enduring work is the huge 8 × 12 foot painting The Last Spike where at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, the western and eastern railroads of the USA were joined for the first time allowing transcontinental travel.

Thomas Hill younger brother, Edward Hill, also became a successful landscape painter, although his paintings are not as finished. Thomas Hill was loosely associated with the Hudson River School of painters and if there was a new name for it, it could be Hudson River School West. Where the Hudson River painters had beautiful and majestic scenery to paint, they never the less embellished it a little. The beautiful and majestic scenery that Hill painted needed no embellishment.

Art Movement: Romanticism, Hudson River School.
Artists Influencing Thomas Hill: Peter Frederick Rothermel.
Painters Thomas Hill Influenced: Edward Hill.
He Traveled To USA, France.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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