New Jersey Remembered: A Seventy-fifth Anniversary; Philadelphia Collection 75; October 2005
Richard Blossom Farley
Ocean City, New Jersey
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 × 60 1/4 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: “1912 [encircled by flower]/Farley”
Inscribed in crayon on stretcher verso: “Winston”
Label on verso (handwritten in pencil): “Richard Blossom Farley/New Hope/Pa.”; “Painted/Six a.m./Ocean City N.J.”

Richard Blossom Farley was born in Poultney, Vermont, and attended the New Jersey State Model School in Trenton and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he sporadically exhibited from 1902 until 1931. Among his teachers were James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), and Cecilia Beaux (1855–1942). Farley also exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Club in 1912 and 1913, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in 1914, St. Botolph’s Club in Boston, and at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. He was a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Art Alliance in Philadelphia, and the American Federation of Arts and the Salmagundi Club in New York. He began his career as a portraitist, but around 1912 (the year he lived in Trenton) he began to specialize in seascapes.

Farley exhibited paintings of Barnegat, New Jersey, at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1912, 1913, 1914, 1925, and 1921. Barnegat is an historic and picturesque area located on the northern end of Long Beach Island. It was named after Barnegat Inlet, which was first sighted by Henry Hudson in 1609. The Barnegat City Improvement Company was formed in 1881 for the purpose of developing the area for recreation and tourism. The city seceded from Long Beach Township in 1904 and became independent. The community elected to associate itself more closely with its landmark lighthouse in 1948 by changing its name from Barnegat City to Barnegat Light.

All three of these paintings are excellent examples of Farley’s highly distinctive decorative style, with their emphasis on their heavily textured surfaces. The blossom emblem that the artist placed next to his name is an allusion to his middle name.

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