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After the Shower in the Garden of Dreams,
William Posey Silva (1859-1948)

View Artist Bio
Oil on canvas
16 x 20 inches
Signature Details: William SilvaInscribed on stretcher: After the shower in the Garden of Dreams
Status: Private Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

One of the leading Impressionist landscape painters of the early twentieth century in America, William Posey Silva was born in Savannah, Georgia, where he attended Chatham Academy. He studied engineering at the University of Virginia and was a partner in his family's hardware and china business in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1887 to 1907. Then at the age of 48, he left the business and traveled to Paris to study at the Academie Julien and with the artist Chauncey Ryder in Picardy, France. During this time, he refined the lyrical Impressionist style that would characterize his work.

Silva exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in 1908 and visited Italy, Spain, and England while abroad. Returning to New York in 1910, he studied with Arthur Dow in Massachusetts. He then lived in Washington D.C. from 1911 to 1914, before settling permanently in Carmel, California. During the course of his career, Silva made frequent trips to the Southeast, working in Charleston and Savannah, as well as places in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. While visiting Charleston in the 1920s, he joined other notable artists of the Renaissance era in painting luminous view of Magnolia Plantation, which he evocatively termed the "Garden of Dreams." Silva painted en plein air, rapidly sketching canvases like this example, which captures the color and atmosphere of the Lowcountry landscape in different moments of time and light.

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This essay is copyrighted by Robert M. Hicklin Jr., Inc. and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission.

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