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New Jersey Remembered: A Seventy-fifth Anniversary; Philadelphia Collection 75; October 2005
 
 
painting
 
William H. Willcox
(c. 1831–after 1919)
Atlantic City
Oil on canvas, 17 1/4 × 32 1/4 inches
Signed at lower left: “W. H. Willcox”

William H. Willcox lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1849, the year that he exhibited two pencil drawings at the American Institute of the City of New York and sold two landscapes to the American Art Union. He moved to Philadelphia in 1850, lived in Germantown, and exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1852 to 1868 and from 1880 to 1917. The titles of the landscapes he exhibited there indicate that he painted in upstate New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and the countryside around Philadelphia. Willcox also exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1853 to 1869. He was primarily a landscape painter but occasionally painted portraits and genre scenes. He was living in Germantown as late as 1919.1

This undated view of Atlantic City exemplifies Willcox’s penchant for panoramic landscapes. The famous Absecon Lighthouse breaks the horizon line at the left. The structure was built by the Army Corps of Engineers between 1855 and 1857. Rising to a height of 171 feet, it is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey and the third tallest in the United States. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1933, placed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 1970, and the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Absecon Lighthouse remains one of Atlantic City’s most distinctive landmarks and popular tourist attractions.


Notes

1. WWWAM, vol. 3, p. 3573. The Brooklyn Museum of Art owns a watercolor by Willcox of Champaign County, Illinois, that is dated November 20, 1868.



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