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John William Hill began his career as a topographical painter and printmaker. About 1855 he read John Ruskin's 'Modern Painters' and, under the English critic's influence, altered his style to produce highly detailed landscapes like this one. Mountain Stream was painted in 1863 at the high-water mark of the short-lived campaign of the American Ruskinians to reform American landscape painting. These radicals, of whom Hill was the elder statesman, turned away from the more painterly, idealized Catskill views of Thomas Cole in favor of small, intricately detailed landscape visions in oil and watercolor.
Descriptive medium: Watercolor over graphite on wove paper
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