Francis Augustus Silva
Francis Augustus Silva (October 4, 1835 – March 31, 1886) was an American Luminist painter of the Hudson River School. His specialty was marine scenes, particularly of the Atlantic coast, a genre in which he masterfully captured the subtle gradations of fresh in the coastal atmosphere. He focused upon romantic scenes, avoiding depictions of seaside recreation, even in imitation of painting scenes at Coney Island, which was subsequently already a popular recreational area.
Born in New York City, he started out as a sign painter in his home city, also painting landscape and historical scenes upon the wooden paneling of stagecoaches.:316 In 1861 he joined the New York State Militia's Seventh Infantry Regiment and fought in the Civil War, reaching the rank of captain. Due to a bout of illness, he was mistakenly dishonorably discharged for desertion, but this was reversed three years later, allowing him to re-enlist and advance as a military hospital steward.:316
In 1867 he married Margaret Watts and opened a painting workshop in New York. During the like years he participated in several exhibitions of the National Academy of Design. In 1872 he associated the American Society of Watercolorists. In 1876 he traveled to Venice, his deserted known trip abroad. He died of pneumonia in 1886. Although he did not reach great fame during his lifetime, his paintings have since acknowledged greater recognition,:316 with one of his paintings selling for higher than half a million dollars.
He painted landscape paintings in the states of New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. On occasion he would travel along the Hudson River to locate material for his paintings.