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Silva, Francis A.

The talented Luminist painter Francis A. Silva (1835-1886) had no formal training and yet has become recognized as one the finest 19th-century painters in the tradition of the Hudson River School. It was during his apprenticeship to a sign painter that he first began to paint, creating decorative and landscape panels for stagecoaches and fire wagons. Only after his marriage in 1868 did he began his career as an artist, and his talent earned him places in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design and the Brooklyn Art Association. Silva’s primary interest was in marine and coastal scenes, and he traveled extensively along the coast of New England, particularly to Cape Ann, Massachusetts and Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island as well as to the Hudson River and the New Jersey shore. His carefully constructed compositions are known for their sense of diminishing perspective, in much the same style employed by Fitz Hugh Lane and Martin Johnson Heade. One of his favorite devices was a rowboat with a small figure placed in the foreground, leading the eye back into the picture plane in a gradual progression to the horizon. His paintings are equally known for their sense of tranquillity and a poetic, almost nostalgic quality. Silva especially favored the intensities of light and atmosphere at sunrise and sunset, with their vibrant shades of yellows, pinks, and oranges. In the tradition of the Hudson River School, he favored painting from memory, where the “remembered moment” remained - in the artist’s eye at least - free from the continual variations of light and atmosphere experienced in painting outdoors. No items found.