William Keith, Spring Landscape (Spring in Marin County), 1893
Oil on canvas, 30 x 47 in. (76.2 x 119.4 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Mrs. Walter Martin in memory of Henry T. Scott, 50.6
The Scottish-born William Keith moved to San Francisco in 1859 and developed a lifelong passion for the California landscape. He found success painting landscapes for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and these commissions financed travel to Europe to further his art education. On a return trip to San Francisco, Keith befriended the naturalist John Muir. Their remarkable friendship has been deemed “one of the important cultural transactions of the period in California." Keith's friendship with the legendary naturalist John Muir enhanced his view of nature as inspiration. Muir also noted that the painter should be true to the specific details of a given place, "observing a devout truthfulness to Nature yet removing veils of detail, and laying bare the very hearts and souls of landscapes." Among the scenic places that Keith visited frequently was Marin County, which provides the setting for this bright, bucolic scene.
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