Etching done in 1890 - Size: 20" x 29"
Etching is in its original frame. It is aged and damaged.
Frame will be included in sale. Shipping to be added to the price.
John Hill Millspaugh, born at Crawford in New York State,
became a painter and etcher in the late 19th century and earned much
respect for the quality of his work. However, he is little known today.
He was raised at Crawford on the Hudson River. At age 16, he went to New
York City to apprentice as a stereotyper, which was highly detailed work
creating relief plates of metal from original woodcuts. By the mid
1840s, he was working in Waverly as a stereotyper, and then moved to
Ithaca where he met his wife, Marion Elizabeth Cornell. Her uncle, Ezra
Cornell became exceedingly wealthy from the telegraph business and
founded Cornell University.
John had a brother, Edward, who showed early talent as an artist and
studied with Henry Inman, a leading Hudson River School painter. He died
at age 31 from smallpox. Hoping to carry on his brother's work, John
began studying art, and his most influential teacher was George
Lafayette Clough (1824-1901), also a Hudson River School painter.
John Millspaugh's career between 1851 and 1871 remains undocumented, but
according to his obituary, he considered himself an amateur artist. It
is thought he made his living during this period as a stereotyper. A
description of one of his oil paintings shows a family picnic, and one
person reported seeing an etching of Cornell University. The only known
painting in a public collection is dated 1872 and is titled "Autumn
in the Susquehannock." It is a pastoral landscape in the Hudson
River School style and is in the Palmer Art Museum at Pennsylvania State
In 1872, Millspaugh left Ithaca for New York City to take a job for an
undetermined period of time at the Customs House. However, his family
suffered when a severe depression, the Panic of 1873, hit a year later,
and his son had to leave college.
By 1882, he reportedly was getting attention in New York City for his
etching, an art form that was extremely popular at that time and tried
by many artists. Millspaugh was invited to join the New York Etching
Club, the country's first organization specifically devoted to that
medium. His etchings are highly detailed, and most of them depict quiet
landscapes. The earliest one published was likely "Evening on the
Delaware," by fine-art publisher Christian Klackner. One of these
works is in the Parrish Art Museum at Southampton, Long Island.
Millspaugh collaborated with Boston painter and etcher Louis K Harlow to
publish works through Klackner. After 1889, Millspaugh did mostly self
publishing. At an undetermined date, he left Manhattan and returned to
Ithica to live. He and his wife spent the winter of 1893-94 in Denver,
Colorado, and he died on the return trip to Ithaca.