John Dodgson Barrow was both a landscape painter and portrait painter. Born in New York City, he moved with his family to the small, central New York town of Skaneateles in 1839. This moved was important to Barrow, since the majority of his paintings are of people and places located in or near this Finger Lakes village.
Shortly after this move, Barrow was sent to England for his schooling, where he began his lifelong study of painting. On his return, he moved to New York City where, in 1856, he opened a studio. His studio was next to that of Charles Loring Elliott (1817-1868), one of America’s leading portraitists. Barrow admired and was influenced by Elliott. During this period Barrow sketched Abraham Lincoln when he spoke at Cooper Union in 1860.
Barrow was also influenced while in New York City by George Inness (1825-1894), who encouraged Barrow’s new interest in landscape painting. Inness was a member of the Hudson River School, and later Barrow’s art was classified as “second generation” Hudson River School. Barrow landscapes glorify nature, especially in their use of light.
Between 1852 and 1879, Barrow’s works were included in nineteen of the Annual Exhibitions at the National Academy of Design. His paintings were also exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Union League of New York.
Barrow returned to Skaneateles in the 1880’s and remained there for the rest of his life. He continued to paint, taught art at Syracuse University, and wrote both poetry and art criticism. In 1900 he designed and built, at his own expense, the John D. Barrow Art Gallery in order to best display his paintings.
In addition to the more than 300 paintings in the Gallery’s collection, Barrow’s works hang in the Onondaga Historical Association and in the main Onondaga County Public Library in Syracuse.
Barrow’s homestead at 34 State Street in Skaneateles, NY is today operated as a high-end Bed & Breakfast. A number of Barrow’s works have been preserved within his former residence.
His two known White Mountain paintings are titled Mount Lafayette and View Near Littleton, New Hampshire.
John D. Barrow Art Gallery