Louis H Richardson [1853-1923]
American Impressionist Painter
Autumn Hillside, ca.1917
Oil on slate
18 x 14-1/2 inches
Signed at lower left.
Louis H. Richardson was born in New Bedford, MA, where he lived and worked until his death in 1923. Richardson was a self-taught Impressionist artist, most known for his sensitive paintings of the landscape surrounding New Bedford and the Dartmouth area. From his shanty shack studio at Salters Point in South Dartmouth, he would paint the wetlands and feature water, trees, the sky and land. In 1917, Richardson was part of a two-man show in New York City with artist Clifford W. Ashley at the Arlington Art Galleries on Madison Avenue. Of his show, The New Bedford Sunday Standard wrote: “His style is so absolutely his own that the simple mention of his name recalls to mind vividly the salt marshes, the soft browns of silent reaches near the sea, wind-blown inlets, flying clouds. … Some of it reaches a height of charm and truth that it would be impossible to surpass.” Richardson believed in the art community and founded the New Bedford Arts Club and its successor the New Bedford Fine Arts Society.
When not painting, Richardson worked at the New Bedford Water Company and later as a plumbing inspector for the city’s Board of Health. He was an avid baseball player and would be known as “the Babe Ruth of New Bedford.”
On his death, the local newspaper declared him “one of the best-known artists in New Bedford” and “one of the art pioneers in building up a more widespread appreciation of art in the community.”
His work is in the permanent collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the New Bedford Art Museum, and the New Bedford Library.
– Original biography by David Smernoff, From Here To Antiquity, October 4, 2016.
“American Landscape and Seascape Paintings.” New Bedford Whaling Museum. Updated unknown. Accessed October 4, 2016. https://www.whalingmuseum.org/explore/exhibitions/past/american-landscape-seascape-paintings.
– SouthCoastToday, New Bedford, MA, “A height of charm and truth” by Robert Lovinger, Standard-Times staff writer, May 13, 1999
– Mattapoisett Presto Press, New Bedford, MA, “Whaling Museum”, August 6, 1986, volume 32, number 31, page 76-77, not illustrated.
– “American Art Annual” edited by Florence N. Levy, The American Federation of Arts, Washington, DC, Volume 14, page 138, 1917, not illustrated.
2011-2012 New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA, “A Harbor for Painting”, 2011 – February, 2012.
1999 New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, MA, “Across the Marshes: The Vision of Louis H. Richardson”, May 13 – July 23.
1996 New Bedford Art Museum, New Bedford, MA, “Landscapes From the Familiar to the Sublime; Paintings from the New Bedford Free Public Library Collection: the inaugural exhibition of the New Bedford Art Museum”, 1996.
1986 New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, MA, “The Dartmouth Shore: Paintings by Louis H. Richardson”, August 22 – October 3.
1923 Swain Free School of Design, New Bedford, MA, “Exhibited”.
1917 New Bedford Public Library, New Bedford, MA “Work by R. Swain Gifford, Louis H. Richardson, and Margaret S. Peirce”, December
1917 Arlington Art Galleries, 274 Madison Avenue, New York, NY, “Whalers of New Bedford: Clifford W. Ashley and Louis Richardson”, March 19-31.
unknown date Light Company Hall, New Bedford, MA, “Exhibited”.
– New Bedford Arts Club [founded]
– New Bedford Fine Arts Society [founded]
– New Bedford Whaling Museum
– New Bedford Art Museum
– New Bedford Library