Thomas Hill1829 - 1908
Born: September 11, 1829, Birmingham, England
Died: July 1, 1908, Raymond, California
Thomas Hill is famous for his portrayals of American mountain scenery. In 1853, he studied portraiture and still life painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. During the summer of 1854, Hill visited the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where he met and painted with several artists associated with the Hudson River School, a group of nineteenth-century American painters known for their romantic depictions of the American landscape. He traveled to Paris in 1866 and 1867 to continue his still life painting studies, but his instructors encouraged him to develop his exceptional talent for landscape painting. Returning to the United States in 1867, Hill became a leading member of the Hudson River School. He was an avid painter of mountain landscapes, from the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains, to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. His landscapes reflect a deep understanding of nature through his precise, accurate, and rapidly executed compositions. In 1870, Hill settled in California, spending the winters in San Francisco and the summers in Yosemite Valley. Hill is often referred to as the “Artist of Yosemite." He was extremely active in the local art community and assisted with the development of the California School of Design. Hill later moved his studio from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park. His most celebrated painting, The Driving of the Last Spike (1881), is a large image commemorating the completion of the Central-Pacific Railroad at Ogden, Utah, in 1869.