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The Bend of the Stream, circa 1910
Richard Norris Brooke (1847-1920)

View Artist Bio
Oil on canvas
17 7/8 x 29 1/8 inches
Signature Details: Richard N. Brooke
Status: Private collection, South Carolina

Born in Warrenton, Virginia, Richard Norris Brooke was educated at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. Following studies with Edmund Bonsall and James Lambdin at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he also exhibited, he taught at several schools, including the Virginia Military Institute (1871-72). From 1873 until 1876, Brooke served as U.S. Consul at La Rochelle, France, and subsequently studied under Benjamin Constant and Leon Bonnat in Paris. On his return to the United States he settled in Washington, D.C., on Vernon Row at Tenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and painted two well-received genre pictures of African-American life, The Pastoral Visit (1880; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and Dog Swap (1881; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.).


Brooke's interest in African American genre subjects was successful but short-lived. After 1881, he devoted himself almost entirely to landscape painting, forming, with William Holmes, Edmund Messer, James Moser, Max Weyl and others, the “Washington Landscape School.” Inspired by the French Barbizon masters and their Dutch and American followers, many of whom were represented in the Thomas E. Waggaman collection begun by Brooke in 1882, the group recorded the fast-fading arcadian views of the Capitol, especially around Rock Creek Park and along the Potomac River. In later years he shared studio space with Max Weyl in what were known as the “Barbizon Studios” near the White House, and lived with his nephew in Warrenton.


This vigorously brushed, sun-dappled scene was probably painted near the artist's home in Virginia. In its broken color and immediacy, it suggests the influence of French Impressionism on his work. NRS



Cosentino, Andrew J. and Henry H. Glassie. The Capital Image: Painters in Washington, 1800-1915. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983.


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