William Langson Lathrop
William Lathrop, photo courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum archives
BORN: March 29, 1859, Warren, Illinois
DIED: September 21, 1938, Montauk, Long Island, New York
[Lathrop] painted from inner feeling, not through direct approach as I paint, and the effect is charming.-Edward Redfield
Often called the dean of the New Hope art colony, William Langson Lathrop helped to established this community of artists soon after he moved into Phillips Mill in 1899. His home and studio quickly emerged as the intellectual and spiritual center of the art colony, as he ferried students to his studio and, with his wife Annie, hosted weekly teas for his colleagues. A dedicated teacher, Lathrop mentored several members of the New Hope school's first and second generations. Primarily a tonalist, Lathrop created poetic and evocative paintings in muted shades, often of earth browns and blue-grays. Most often he painted simplified rustic landscapes, in oils or occasionally in watercolors. Although Lathrop often worked en plein air, in the manner of many Pennsylvania impressionists, he deemed it important to complete his paintings in the studio, drawing also upon memory. In his later years, Lathrop developed a more impressionistic style, expanding the colors in his palette. An avid sailor, Lathrop tragically died when his boat, The Widge, sank in a hurricane off Long Island in 1938.