New Hope School and the Making of American Art History

KatherineAmerican Paintings, ImpressionismLeave a Comment

George Sotter

The history of art in America begins with the question of what defines American art. Europe was the leader of many movements and it seemed that the Americans were only engaged in mimicking and following European masters. By the late nineteenth century, America began to step out of Europe’s shadow. Artist moved out of the cities and founded art colonies. Once removed from urban life, they were able to study what made America unique. This time birthed an appreciation for the American landscape and countryside.

One such colony was the New Hope School. Founded in 1898 in a village on the banks of the Delaware River, this art colony came to birth a distinctly American style, Pennsylvanian Impressionism. Guy Pene du Bois, painter and art critic, called it “our first truly national expression.” This became a dominate influence for decades and helped define the American art scene.

Edward Willis Redfield

‘Village of Carterville’ Edward W. Redfield
Springville Museum of Art

Pennsylvanian Impressionists were largely united by subject, not style. They were interested in breaking from European tradition, but maintaining a similar color scheme and brushstroke technique as the European Impressionists. Painting outside was another hallmark. Some painters such as Edward Willis Redfield would not even let foul weather deter him from going outdoors to paint. Instead, they would find ways to hold the canvas down or keep it sheltered as the storm raged.

What made the New Hope artists stand out was their love for the New Hope area. They painted rolling hills, pastoral scenes, and winter landscapes. Redfield often painted the Delaware River. Overall, the paintings that came out of this school are serene. It is easy to see the passion that these artists had for their home.

George Sotter

George Sotter: Untitled
James A. Michener Art Museum

The New Hope School was not as well-known during the heyday of Pennsylvania Impressionism. These painters were rediscovered in the 1980s and their works spiked in value over the years. Redfield and Daniel Garber were among the favorites. Both these artists are good starting points if you are interested in this school. They had many peers that had their own form of expression and personality. Artists such as George Sotter, Walter Emerson Baum, or John Fulton Folinsbee were also talented New Hope School painters.

The New Hope School represents a crucial time in the history of American art. However, these works are not just museum pieces. They are pleasant and high quality paintings in their own right.


Ackerman’s Fine Art is a concierge gallery, specializing in investment quality Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.



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