Evening on the Arkansas River

Evening on the Arkansas River

Artist: Nicholas Richard Brewer
Type: oil on canvas
Year: 1919-1925
Size/Dimensions: 31 ¼ x 38 ¾ in.
Origin: Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council Grant Purchase
Accession Number: 2000.26

A prominent 19th century portrait and landscape painter in Minnesota, New York and Texas, Nicholas Brewer was born in Olmstead County, Minnesota and was raised on a farm along the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. He was a student in New York of Dwight Tryon and Charles Noel Flagg at the National Academy of Design where he also exhibited. He painted a crucifixion in the Cathedral of St. Paul, in Minnesota as well as portraits of many prominent persons in his native state. Exhibition venues include the Minnesota State Art Society, the Minneapolis Art Institute, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. He was a member of the American Federation of Arts, the California Art Club, and the Salmagundi Club.
Brewer wrote an autobiography, "Trails of a Paintbrush," published in 1938. It describes his life growing up in rural Minnesota, his travels to St. Paul and later to New York, and his attempts to provide for his family, including artist son Adrian, while becoming a renowned artist. Additionally, it contains Brewer's insights into the art world of late nineteenth century American and the process by which cultural institutions and patronage spread across the nation. This scene from around 1919-1925 depicts a steam shovel at work with a view of “Big Rock,” a large bluff situated on the north bank of the Arkansas River. Though once a heavily mined quarry, the bluff’s ridge now forms the trails of Emerald Park.

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Evening on the Arkansas River