• Harry Leith-Ross (1886-1973), Chaplin’s Meadows, n.d. Watercolor on paper. 15 x 20 inches. Bequest of Jane Bishop. 1997.19.8

 

Featuring highly-detailed drawings and watercolors by Harry Leith-Ross (1886-1973), Harry Leith-Ross: Scenes from Country Life illuminates the painter’s artistic process and skilled draftsmanship. Born in the former British colony of Mauritius, Leith-Ross grew up in Scotland and England before moving to the United States in 1903. After working as a commercial artist and studying painting in Paris, he enrolled in the Art Students League’s summer school at Woodstock, New York in 1913 and began exhibiting in New York and Philadelphia. Leith-Ross settled permanently in New Hope, Pennsylvania in 1935 and became an integral part of the local art community. He won awards from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Phillips’ Mill, National Academy of Design, American Watercolor Society, and the Salmagundi Club, among others.

Leith-Ross made drawings as finished works and used them as studies for his larger oil paintings, like Of Days Long Past (c. 1959), displayed in the museum’s Putnam Smith Gallery. He masterfully manipulated black conté crayon to achieve a variety of textures, dramatic contrasts, and bright highlights. A few drawings even include the artist’s handwritten color notes to guide him when executing paintings in his studio. Leith-Ross also excelled in the watercolor medium and his vibrant compositions were admired by critics and sought by collectors. Depicting Holland, Scotland, Nova Scotia, New Hope, and Doylestown, among other locations, these works map Leith-Ross’s extensive travels and encapsulate an intimate vision of everyday life in rural and small town settings.

The exhibition program in the Bette and Nelson Pfundt Gallery is presented by Vivian Banta and Robert Field.