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Wesley Webber (1839-1914)
Landscape and marine painter Wesley Webber
was born in Gardiner, Maine in 1839 and died in
Wollaston, Massachusetts in November 1914. He
lived in Boston from 1870 to 1890 and in New York City from 1892.
He was self-taught. He is considered one
of the finer landscape painters who painted from life in the Conway area of New
Hampshire and along the New England coast, and he is
reminiscent of the Hudson River School in style and manner.
Webber served in the Civil War and was present at General Lee’s surrender at
Appomattox. His original sketches made at the
surrender, along with his finished illustrations of the Civil War,
were shown at the Boston Art Club and brought Webber considerable fame,
recognition and fortune. Many of his Civil War
scenes were published as wood engravings in Harper’s Weekly and as a lithograph
published by J.H. Bufford of Boston. He was
discharged from Civil War service in 1865. He
opened a studio in Gardiner, where he became a carriage painter.
Thereafter, Webber earned a fine reputation as a
marine and landscape painter, but at the end of his life his style weakened
along with his reputation.
Webber shared a Boston studio in Pemberton Square and then shared a Boston
studio with marine painter William P. Stubbs (1876-) and kept other studios in
New York City until his death. Every summer he
went to Conway, New Hampshire to paint the hillside, where painters John J.
Enneking, Frank Shapleigh, and others joined him to
paint. He also painted in Manchester-by-the-Sea,
in Nova Scotia, and in Canada. Two
of his most famous paintings are Kennebec River, Maine Boat Shop and
Unidentified Vessels Ice-bound at Gloucester (both at the Peabody Museum,
Salem, MA). He is also represented in the
permanent collections of the Boston Athenaeum, the New
York Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum,
and the Portland Museum of Art. Webber was a
member of the Boston Art Club.
Webber's White Mountain scenes are dated for 1873 to 1876.
His paintings were largely in the Conway area, but one is titled Androscoggin
River near Gorham, NH while another is titled Outlet of Winnipiseogee
From 1897 to 1914 Webber’s New York City studio at 11 East 14th Street was
filled with artists. In 1914 he left the city
for his daughter’s home in Wollaston, MA, where he died. In
February 1915, his family sold the contents of his studio at the Boston auction
house of C.F. Libbie and Company. The artist is
buried in Gardiner, Maine.
New Hampshire Scenery
Who Was Who in American Art