Thomas Hill USA

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

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Hill, Thomas

Thomas Hill younger brother, Edward Hill, also became a successful landscape painter. At the age of 15, he emigrated to the United States with his family.

At the age of 24, Thomas Hill attended evening classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and studied under American painter Peter Frederick Rothermel. During his years as a student, Hill traveled to the White Mountains in New Hampshire as early as 1854 and sketched alongside members of the Hudson River School. In 1856, Hill and his family moved to San Francisco, California.

With painter Virgil Williams and photographer Carleton Watkins, Thomas Hill made his first trip to the Yosemite Valley in 1865. The next year, Hill traveled to the East Coast and Europe. He established his family on the East Coast but continued to take sketching trips to the West Coast and to attend meetings of the San Francisco Art Association. He moved his family back to San Francisco in 1873.

Thomas Hill made yearly sketching trips to Yosemite, Mount Shasta, and, back east, to the White Mountains. Hill ran an art gallery and art supply store. He lived on his stock market investments as well as his art proceeds.

Hill was loosely associated with the Hudson River School of painters.

Thomas Hill 1865 View of the Yosemite Valley was chosen to be the backdrop of the head table at Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon, to commemorate Lincoln's 1864 signing of the Yosemite Grant. A painting has been chosen for every inaugural luncheon since 1985.

Thomas Hill's most famous and enduring work is of the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, U.T., on May 10, 1869, to join the rails of the CPRR and UPRR. The huge 8×12 foot painting, which features detailed portraits of 71 individuals associated with the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Movement: Romanticism, Hudson River School
Influences: Peter Frederick Rothermel
Traveled: USA, France, England
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