Important American Paintings - September 2010
Richard Blossom Farley
Ocean City, New Jersey, 1912
Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 × 60 1/4 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: "1912/Farley"
Label inscribed on reverse: "Richard Blossom Farley/New Hope/Pa."; "Painted/Six a.m./Ocean City N.J."
RS 2742

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 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.

This is an exceptionally large and fine example of Farley’s highly distinctive decorative style, with its emphasis on their heavily textured surfaces. Ocean City, an island on the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May County, New Jersey, was founded by four Methodist ministers in 1879 as a Christian retreat and place to hold camp meetings. They laid out streets and lots for cottages, a hotel and various businesses, and prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages within city limits. Ocean City was formed as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1884, and was reincorporated as a borough in 1890. It was incorporated as a city, its current type of government, in 1897. Over the years Ocean City evolved into the popular family seaside resort that it remains today. This panoramic vista documents the city’s appearance prior to a large fire in 1927 that destroyed many of its most important buildings.


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