J. Francis Murphy (1853-1921), Sunlight (Setting Sun), c.1900, oil on canvas. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of John and Lisbeth Huish.
American artist J. Francis Murphy’s painting is as much a portrayal of atmosphere as of trees, water, and setting sun. A follower of the Barbizon school of painting in France, Murphy blurred outlines and limited his tonal hues to a narrow range, thus creating a hazy mood. Many Americans preferred such tonal works to academic and impressionist styles. With his careful observation of an ordinary landscape, Murphy awakens its enchanting beauty.
Sunlight (Setting Sun) is currently on display in the exhibition Shaping America.