Joseph Foxcroft Cole
“River Canal in Picardy, France”
Oil on canvas; 14 x 24 inches
Signed lower left
Joseph Foxcroft Cole, painter was born in Jay, Maine, on November 9th, 1837. Cole began his career as a draftsman in the Boston lithographic firm of John Bufford (1810-1870), where he and fellow employee Winslow Homer became friends. Before Cole went to Paris, in 1860, Cole was familiar with French painting through his friend William Morris Hunt and through the Barbizon pictures exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum during the 1850s.
Once in Paris, Cole came under the influence of Émile Lambinet (1813-1877), a landscapist that specialized in loosely painted rural subjects. He also studied the great European collections and copied a number of the seventeenth-century Dutch pictures in the Louvre. Cole returned to Boston in 1864 and established a studio in the Mercantile Library Building. During the next twelve years Cole divided his time between Boston and Paris. By 1877 he had settled in Winchester, Massachusetts, where he remained for the rest of his life except for trips to California, France, and the Netherlands. He helped bring the Barbizon style and a love of French painting to Boston not only through his own work, but also by acting as an agent for local collectors, introducing them to the works of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) and Charles-François Daubigny (1817-1878).
Cole was considered one of the leading landscape painters in the Boston area during the second half of the nineteenth century. From 1863 until his death he exhibited intermittently at the National Academy of Design in New York. He also exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1866 and 1867, the Society of American Artists from 1873 to 1875, the Royal Academy in London in 1876 and 1877 and the St. Botolph Club in Boston in 1893.