Written and recorded by Greta Karcher in July 2016
Hi I’m Greta and this painting is called Untitled, Otherwise known as Landscape with Figure, by William Langson Lathrop.
Believe it or not, Lathrop struggled with his artistic career early in life, and was often extremely poor. It wasn’t until he was invited to showcase his work in the annual exhibition of the American Watercolor Society and one of his pieces won the Evans Prize that he began to become popular and make money. Have you ever struggled with succeeding at something you enjoy? How did that make you feel?
Soon Lathrop had enough money to move his family to New Hope, Pennsylvania. Lathrop’s move influenced other artists such as Henry Snell and Daniel Garber to move to the beautiful area as well. The scenery there was the perfect inspiration for landscape paintings, and the area quickly became popular for artists. Lathrop and his family were very involved in the community. Lathrop offered art classes and he and his wife, Annie, hosted tea parties and discussions for artists and other friends. Lathrop became known as the father of the New Hope Art Colony, which evolved into the artistic community we have today. In a way, he could almost be considered one of the reasons we have the Michener Art Museum!
Lathrop was an interesting man outside of his art career as well. Did you know that he owned a pet monkey named Petey and was friends with Albert Einstein? Some of Lathrop’s hobbies included playing the violin and sailing. In fact, he loved sailing so much that he built his own boat called the Widge. He spent the late years of his life sailing his boat and painting the scenery he saw.
Now look at the painting. What do you see?
What features jump out at you?
How does the painting make you feel?
Can you spot the figure? A figure is a person in an artwork. What do you think they’re doing?
Where are they going?
See if you can come up with a story about the figure.
This painting was left untitled by the artist. Had you been the painter, what would you have called it?
As you continue throughout the Museum, keep an eye out for Lathrop’s influence and some of the friends that he made. If you’re interested in learning more about Lathrop, look for the audio stops on the New Hope Art Colony and Lathrop’s Tea Parties.