Fitz Henry Lane (formerly Fitz Hugh Lane) (American, 1804–1865)
Oil on canvas
38 x 60 in. (96.5 x 152.4 cm)
Purchase, Rogers and Fletcher Funds, Erving and Joyce Wolf Fund, Raymond J. Horowitz Gift, Bequest of Richard De Wolfe Brixey, by exchange, and John Osgood and Elizabeth Amis Cameron Blanchard Memorial Fund, 1978 (1978.203)
Lane returned to his native Gloucester from Boston in 1848. His works of the 1850s and 1860s were increasingly purged of genre and topographical elements, becoming spare and essential. By 1862, Lane had achieved a seamless, self-effacing style, possibly influenced by the works of Martin Johnson Heade. Stage Fort, once the site of military fortifications, sits on rising terran that leads the viewer's eye into the glowing, lucid, and almost eerily still distance. Despite the disjuncture between the meticulously painted foreground and the sheer plane of water to the horizon, this work marks the transition to Lane's final, taut, elemental style. The painting's almost surreal stillness and pink and golden glow create a hermetic, elegiac mood found in many of Lane's late works.