Willard Leroy Metcalf began his career in Lowell, Massachusetts. In 1881 and 1883 he was commissioned to illustrate a series of stories about the Zuni tribe in New Mexico and Arizona. He applied his profits from these drawings towards extensive travel in Europe, where he continued to study painting until his return to the United States in 1889. Metcalf established a studio in New York City, where he taught, painted, and co-founded The Ten –an important group of American Impressionist painters.
What does this winter scene promise?
Some American painters of winter scenes did not regard the season as cold and unforgiving. Instead, many had positive views of the potential inherent in depicting such landscapes. Metcalf may have agreed with the American essayist Hamilton Wright Mabie, who declared that “winter is the concealment, not absence of life, and the woods are as full of potential vitality when the snow covers them as when the summer strives in vain to penetrate the depths of their foliage.”
Gift of Mrs. Herbert Fleishhacker