May 2, 2010
Bay of New York, Sunset, mid 19th century
Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch
From 1834 to 1840 Thomas Chambers spent most of his time in New York, describing himself in newspapers as a painter of landscapes, marine life and other “fancy” things. Although his work does suggest that he was amongst main stream artists of the time, there are no major exhibits on record that displayed his works.
Chambers has often been praised for his heightened sense reality and ability to capture landscape in its true form and color. His works are distinguished by the realistic scenes and the sharp contrasts in color, like in Bay of New York, Sunset where the sharp contrast between the water, sky and boats can be seen. Chambers is able to capture the movement and every day activity of the New York skyline with accuracy and beauty.
About the Artist
Thomas Chambers – American, 1808 – 1866 or after
Thomas Chambers was born in London in 1808 and emigrated to the United States in 1832. A painter of both landscapes and marine scenes, Chambers did not confine his artistic subjects to views that he knew firsthand but made liberal use of both his imagination and popular engraved images.
Chambers is known to have looked not only to the Englishman William H. Bartlett’s views, executed for Nathaniel Parker Willis’ volume American Scenery (London, 1840), but also to Asher B. Durand’s and Jacques Gerard Milbert’s prints as the basis for several of his compositions. A number of Chambers’ depictions of naval battles during the War of 1812 are based upon engravings, at least two from prints after Thomas Birch.
For the years 1834 and 1840 he was listed as a landscape or marine painter in the New York City directory. From 1843 to 1851 he lived in Boston, then moved to Albany, where he remained until 1857. He was subsequently listed in city directories in New York, 1858-1859; Boston, 1860-1861, and New York again, 1862-1866. After this time there appears to be no record of him, and his death date is unknown.
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