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    William Stanley Haseltine

    19th Century American Dusseldorf school of painting Fine Art Hudson River School Interior Decorating Luminism Paintings William Stanley Haseltine

    William Stanley Haseltine

    William Stanley Haseltine lived between June 11, 1835 and February 3, 1900 and was an American painter and draftsman who was associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting, the Hudson River School and Luminism. 

    Click here to view all of the works of art we have by William Stanley Haseltine for sale.


    Born in Philadelphia to John Haseltine, a successful businessman, and Elizabeth Shinn Haseltine, an amateur landscape painter, Haseltine studied at the University of Pennsylvania and then at Harvard University, where he received a degree in 1854.


    He first exhibited his paintings the following year at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, after which he sailed to Europe, first joining a colony of American painters who were studying in Düsseldorf, then traveling up the Rhine into Switzerland and Italy. In late 1857 he settled in Rome, and in the following months made numerous excursions to draw the landscape around Rome and on Capri.

    In 1858 Haseltine returned to Philadelphia, and by late 1859 was installed in the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York City, then a central point for American landscape painters; also in the building were Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Worthington Whittredge, the latter two having befriended Haseltine in Europe. Though many of his paintings from this time derived from his European sketches, Haseltine also began to paint the oceanside of New England, especially favoring the rockbound coasts of Narragansett, Rhode Island, Nahant, Massachusetts, and Mount Desert Island, Maine. The precision with which he painted these landscapes won critical praise, and Haseltine was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1860, and a full Academician in 1861. A study of 'The rocks at Nahant' is in Chapter 6 of Rebecca Bedell's 'The Anatomy of Nature'.

    In 1864 Haseltine's wife died in childbirth. He spent some time training his nephew, Howard Russell Butler, but he moved after he married Helen Marshall in 1866. Initially the family considered settling in Paris, but in 1867 they moved to Rome, which would for most of Haseltine's subsequent years serve as his home and point of departure from which to produce views of the European landscape. While his paintings of Capri and Sicily would prove popular with visiting American tourists, Haseltine also traveled and drew in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, summering in Bavaria and the Tyrol in the 1880s and 1890s. In his later years he also returned periodically to the United States, making a final trip to the west in 1899.

    Haseltine died of pneumonia in Rome in 1900. He is buried at the Protestant cemetery in Rome on Via Caio Cestio, about 5 km from the Episcopal Church of Saint Paul's Within The Walls, of which he was one of the founding members. His son Herbert Chevalier Haseltine became one of the most celebrated sculptors of animals, especially horses. Some of his most famous works were done for clients such as Barbara Hutton and Guy de Rothschild.

    William's daughter Mildred (Millie), also an artist, married the Roman Prince Ludovico Guardino Carlo Francesco Rospigliosi Pallavicini in Rome in 1904. Above the village of Centrale, hamlet of Zugliano, near Thiene (Vicenza), they built a manor house, named Villa Rospigliosi. After the legal separation Mildred was well-liked and benefactor of the country and contributed to the construction of the Cathedral of Thiene with generous donations. There she was also known as Princess Haseltine. Died in 1946, 67 years old and she is buried next to her father.


    William Stanley Haseltine was born in Philadelphia on June 11, 1835, the son of John Haseltine, a successful businessman, and his wife Elizabeth Shinn Haseltine, an amateur landscape painter. After two years of study at the University of Pennsylvania, he entered Harvard University in 1852, receiving his degree two years later. He studied painting briefly in 1854 with Paul Weber, a German landscape and portrait painter who had settled in Philadelphia. In the spring of 1855 Haseltine made his public debut as an artist, exhibiting several paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. That summer he journeyed to Düsseldorf, where he joined the colony of young American painters studying landscape painting at the Academy. In 1856 Haseltine joined Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910) and a group of fellow students on an extended sketching trip up the Rhine and into Switzerland and Italy. Although in January 1857 Haseltine returned to Düsseldorf, he was back in Italy by the summer and settled in Rome in the fall. During the winter of 1857-1858 and the spring of 1858 he made numerous sketching tours in the environs of Rome and also visited the island of Capri.

    In the late summer or early fall of 1858 Haseltine abruptly returned to Philadelphia. By November of the following year he had moved to New York and taken a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building, which was the center of American landscape school in the late 1850s and early 1860s. Among the painters Haseltine joined in the Studio Building were Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt, and Whittredge, the latter two acquaintances from his European travels. Haseltine now began to establish a reputation as a landscape painter, showing his works regularly at exhibitions in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. Many of his works of these years were based on sketches completed abroad, but he also made use of studies made on his travels to popular seaside resorts in New England. Among his favorite subjects were Maine's Mount Desert Island and the shore areas around Narragansett, Rhode Island, and Nahant, Massachusetts. These landscapes and coastal scenes were generally well received, with critics praising in particular his geological accuracy in depicting the distinctive rock formations of the New England coast. In 1860 Haseltine was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design; he was made a full Academician the following year.

    Personal tragedy struck in 1864 when Haseltine's wife died in childbirth. In February 1866 the artist remarried and in May he and his family departed for Europe. He considered settling in Paris, but by 1867 he had joined the large international art colony in Rome, which would remain his base for much of the next thirty years. Haseltine's paintings of European views, especially his landscapes and coastal views of Italian scenery, proved extremely popular with wealthy American tourists who were travelling abroad in ever-increasing numbers in the years after the Civil War. In the fall of 1874 Haseltine located his studio in a grand setting at the Palazzo Altieri, which he opened to visitors and potential patrons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This was a common practice among artists working in Rome, which had only a few contemporary art galleries and scant opportunities for public exhibition.

    From his home in Rome, Haseltine often travelled to other areas of Italy and Europe, including Venice, Capri, Sicily, Paris, Cannes, Belgium, Holland, and the Netherlands. During the 1880s and 1890s, he and his family often spent summers in Bavaria and the Tyrol. Sketches made during these trips frequently served as the basis for later paintings and watercolors, with his scenes of Capri and Sicily proving very popular with tourists. Haseltine also made periodic trips back to the United States, especially during the 1890s. In the summer of 1899 he and his son, Herbert, made a trip west, visiting Utah, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Banff, and Yellowstone Park. This was his last trip to the states; a few months after his return to Europe in the fall, he contracted pneumonia and died in Rome on February 3, 1900. 

    Plowden, Helen Haseltine. William Stanley Haseltine: Sea and Landscape Painter (1835-1900). London, 1947.
    Simpson, Marc, Andrea Henderson, and Sally Mills. Expressions of Place: The Art of William Stanley Haseltine. Exh. cat. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, 1992.
    Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 271-272.

    Click here to view all of the works of art we have by William Stanley Haseltine for sale.

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