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William Trost Richards
in his Newport Studio c.1900.

The Newport Art Museum was founded in 1912 as the Art Association of Newport and may be the oldest continuously operating organization of its kind in the country. Originally dedicated to "the cultivation of artistic endeavor and interest among the citizens of Newport," the Museum's mission has evolved to include the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of historic and contemporary visual arts with an emphasis on the rich artistic heritage of Newport, Rhode Island and Southern New England.

Born in Philadelphia, William Trost Richards was one of the most important of the many 19th century American artists who found special inspiration in the sublime natural environment and unique society of Newport and the Narragansett Bay region. Although he painted throughout the eastern United States, on the West Coast, and in many parts of Europe, particularly Britain, Richards is probably best known for the artworks he created while visiting and living in Newport and Jamestown, Rhode Island. According to Maud Howe Elliott, one of the Newport Art Museum's founders, writing in her 1994 book This Was My Newport: "No artist has been better loved in Newport than William Trost Richards, first of American marine painters. When, after his death, the Art Association acquired one of his pictures through the subscription of its members and friends, old sea-dogs and fishermen came to contribute their bit, because they had known and loved the painter."

"Paradise Valley,
Middletown, Rhode Island" 1881
Watercolor and goauche on paper, 24x38 in
Provenance: Family of the Artist

As specialists in the art of William Trost Richards and patrons of the Newport Art Museum, we are pleased to present a special exhibition and sale of over one hundred oil paintings, watercolors and drawings by Newport's "best loved artist" that benefits the Fine Art Acquisition Fund of the Museum. This fund will enable the Newport Art Museum to acquire for the permanent collection the Richards masterpiece "Paradise Valley, Middletown, Rhode Island" directly from descendants of the artist, who have generously donated one half of the value as a gift to the museum.