Road to Olana

Walter Launt Palmer (1854-1932)
Date: 1888
Medium: Watercolor and gouache on paper
Dimensions: 13 1/4 H x 17 1/4 W
Inscription: Signed and dated, lower right: -PALMER- '88
Credit: Gift of the estate of Miss Evelyn Newman
Accession Number: 1964.31.40
Comments: Walter Launt Palmer, as the son of Albany sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer, grew up surrounded by art and artists. After studying with master painters in the US and Paris, he painted interior scenes, views of Venice, and landscapes that include his well-known winter scenes. In keeping with contemporary trends, his painting style was more fluid and less precise than that of his father's generation; he never tried to make the paint strokes invisible, as they had. This work in watercolor and gouache depicts the snow-covered carriageway to the estate of renowned painter Frederic Church, who had accepted Palmer as a pupil eighteen years before. Church's paintings focus on the expanse of the landscape, but Palmer's concentrate on scenes that are closed in by the topography. Here, the view is limited by the rising hill in the middle ground. Palmer gained praise for his ability to portray snow scenes such as this one, which required subtle contrasts in the "colors" of snow.