West Point | Hudson River School

The Hudson River: West Point

West Point was famous both for its great beauty and continuous role in American history. A strategic site during the American Revolution, it was, and remains to this day, a central location for the elite U.S. Military Academy, where Union Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, and Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson were trained. A foundry nearby made and tested cannons for the war, and the river was lined with iron manufacturers that made ship parts and other supplies used in the war effort.

During the American Revolutionary War, the fort at West Point was of vital strategic importance. The Hudson River Chain, cast from nearby iron foundries, stretched across the river from the fort at West Point, preventing British ships from going upriver.

Many Hudson River School artists painted the natural beauty of the site, without alluding to the nature of the location as a military outpost. Thomas Doughty painted several picturesque scenes featuring West Point, including View of the Hudson from West Point looking North. Alfred Bricher painted The Hudson River at West Point (now in the Terra Foundation for American Art) in 1864 during the Civil War, but the scene remains serene, bathed in a glowing light, and depicts a natural setting unspoiled by modernization, urbanization, industrialization, or war.

Robert Walter Weir (1803–1889) West Point, Hudson in Distance
Wash on paper, 3 x 3 1/2 inches
Signed lower left

Image courtesy of Questroyal Fine Art, LLC