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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Steven Watson.

Along the Shore

Artist: William Trost Richards (1833 - 1905)
Date: 1903
39 3/16 × 78 1/2 in. (99.5 × 199.4 cm)
Framed: 48 1/2 × 87 1/2 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2009.1
Signed: l.l.: W-T Richards 03.
Place Depicted:
On View
Accession Number: 2009.1
Provenanceto Robert J. Caldwell, Long Island, NY, 1903; by descent in the family, Australia; to (Pierce Galleries, Inc., Hingham, MA), 2009; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2009
Label TextRichards painted seascapes as early as the 1860s, and by 1890 started producing close-up views of breakers crashing violently against the shoreline near his home in Newport, Rhode Island. The precision of earlier works such as Landscape is still present here in his depiction of the roiling foam, but it is tempered by a lighter, painterly touch.

Late works such as Along the Shore are more dramatic not simply because of the terrible force implied by the large waves, but also because the artist placed the viewer in the water, without the protective buffer of a beach. The stormy sky reinforces the tempestuous movement of the sea. Several other American artists around the turn of the twentieth century, including Winslow Homer and Albert Bierstadt, also explored the power of nature by painting seascapes featuring enormous waves.