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Black Mountain, 1848

Black Mountain, 1848

Artists of Lake George: Edward Seager

By Anthony F. Hall

Friday, April 29, 2011

By the mid-19th century, artists were flocking to Lake George. For some, like Asher Durand, John Kensett and William Trost Richards, Lake George itself was an idealized and heightened expression of nature, which, following the English Romantic poets, they invested with divinity. For others, paintings of Lake George were commercial products to satisfy a public demand for picturesque landscapes.

Lake George, 1848

One of the first artists to sketch and paint Lake George was Edward Seager, who first visited Lake George in 1841, and returned again in 1845 and 1848. Two sketches he made in 1848 are reproduced here: Lake George and Black Mountain.

Both were exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum in 1848.

Seager was born in England in 1809. In the 1830′s his family emigrated to Canada. In 1850, reportedly on the recommendation of Daniel Webster, he became Professor of Drawing and Drafting at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, a post which he retained until his retirement in 1867. Although a civilian, he was awarded a commission by President Abraham Lincoln.

From the 1840′s until shortly before his death in 1886, Seager travelled through New England and Europe sketching, drawing and painting. Of his work art historian Sandra K. Feldman writes, “Taken as a whole, Seager’s oeuvre chronicles not only the fascinating maturation of a professional draftsman whose career spanned a significant part of the 19th century, but also one that demonstrates the manner in which the art of drawing was taught in a very significant period in the history of visual expression in the United States.”

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