(American, 1840 - 1909)


Oil on canvas, 11 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches
Signed and inscribed at lower left: “C. L. FUSSELL/FLATBUSH”

Settled by the Dutch in 1652 and one of the six original towns in Brooklyn, Flatbush was located in the center of an area called Midwout (middle woods). When Fussell painted these landscapes, Flatbush was in the process of transformation from a rural district into a fashionable suburb. A local grocer named Henry A. Meyer formed the Germania Land & Improvement Company and in 1892 developed 65 acres of farmland into a planned community. Flatbush was incorporated into the city of Brooklyn in 1894. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts owns five related oil sketches of Flatbush.

About the Artist

(American, 1840 - 1909)

Charles Lewis Fussell was born in West Vincent, Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of a prominent Quaker abolitionist physician. He attended Friends High School and later Central High School in Philadelphia, where he befriended Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Fussell began to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1859 and exhibited there between 1863 and 1905. He also took private art lessons from the history and portrait painter Peter Frederick Rothermel (1817-1895). He became interested in landscape after a visit to Greeley, Colorado, and after his family settled in Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania he traveled throughout the surrounding area in search of inspiring scenery. Little is known of Fussell's activities until he settled in Brooklyn, New York, in 1889, where he lived for the next eight years.

Dispirited because he failed to achieve professional success in New York, Fussell returned to the family homestead in Media. Shortly before Fussell's death a newspaper reviewer praised his work and noted that he had “grown gray in the service of art, and with his silvery pate, luxuriant beard, and benign and benevolent expression, he might easily pose for a portrait of St. Nicholas.”

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