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Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855) was supported by his prosperous Baltimore family, who had hoped he would become a physician, in his endeavor to become an artist by trade.
His young artistic talent was stirred by his access to the art collection of early Baltimore art collector Robert Gilmore, whose collection included Dutch & Flemish genre paintings depicting domestic scenes of people in interiors.
Some of Woodville's most delightful works are his genre scenes of Baltimore's citizens. Like many genre painters working for centuries before him, Woodville's paintings depict anecdotal details as well as unresolved conflict. Woodville was a storyteller.
Richard Caton Woodville (American painter, 1825-1855) The Card Players
Woodville recorded his early life in Baltimore in the form of drawings, including those depicting his University of Maryland medical school faculty during 1842-3, when he studied medicine.
Richard Caton Woodville (American painter, 1825-1855) News About the War in Mexico 1848
He finally decided to turn from medical studies to full-time painting; and in 1845, he sailed to study art in Düsseldorf. He spent time in Europe, but his extant paintings reflect a relish for the people & interiors of American life.
Richard Caton Woodville (American painter, 1825-1855) Waiting for the Stage
While Woodville produced most of his work after leaving Baltimore in 1845 to travel widely in Germany, France & England, he continued to paint Maryland subject matter. He also sailed back to Baltimore for at least 2 visits after his 1845 departure.
Richard Caton Woodville (American painter, 1825-1855) The Sailor's Wedding 1852
Woodville died at age 30 from an overdose morphine