Aaron Draper Shattuck was one of the leading artists of the Hudson River School’s second generation, known for his small, intimate views of nature. His gentle pastoral landscapes proved immensely popular with nineteenth century audiences. As Henry Tuckerman, the foremost art critic of the period, explains: “Shattuck imparts a rural feeling so genial and genuine that we feel transported to the very spot he represents.”
Born in Francestown, New Hampshire, Shattuck trained in the area under Alexander Ransom, a portrait and landscape painter. He left with Ransom for New York in 1855, submitting his first painting to the National Academy of Design that same year and quickly establishing himself in the leading art circles of the time. Best known for his White Mountain scenes, he summered there from 1854 to 1860, sharing an old farmhouse with Samuel Colman, Sanford Robinson Gifford and Richard William Hubbard. In 1859, he opened a studio in the famous Tenth Street Studio Building, forming close working relationships with his neighbors, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church; he married Samuel Colman’s sister, Marion, the following year. In 1870, he and his family moved to Granby, Connecticut, a cattle-raising town steeped in rustic tradition, which provided continual inspiration for his landscape paintings.
Shattuck was remarkably successful throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. He was named an Associate and Academician of the National Academy of Design and exhibited at all the major venues, including the National Academy of Design, the Boston Athenaeum, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Washington Art Association and the Brooklyn Art Association. Today, his work is featured in the collections of the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Hudson River Museum, the Farnsworth Art Museum, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.