Winckworth Allan Gay Biography

elizabeth stallman
Apr 1, 2014 5:14PM

Winckworth Allan Gay was born in 1821 in West Hingham, Massachusetts. His earliest formal studies began with Robert W. Weir in West Point, New York in 1838, and he was painting in the Boston area by the early 1840s. In 1847 he made his first trip to Paris, where he encountered the artist Constant Troyon. In working with Troyon, Gay was one of the first Americans exposed to the new style of painting, dubbed “Barbizon” after the village just outside of Paris where a group of artists (like Corot and Millet) would gather and produce works that moved away from Impressionism and towards realism.

Upon his return to the United States, he established a studio in Boston and travelled frequently to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, especially to West Compton, which became a thriving artist’s colony by the late 1850s. Though his wanderlust would take him not only back to Europe, but to Egypt and then to Japan in 1877, where he spent four years. He was a talented artist; his ability to integrate the new Barbizon style with the well-known Hudson River School style, and to present scenes both familiar and exotic made him popular with collectors.

His paintings can be found in such notable public and private collections as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Boston Athenaeum Library, Boston, MA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Yale University Art Gallery; New Haven, CT; and the Hingham Historical Society, Hingham, MA., among others.

elizabeth stallman