Morning on the Ohio River
Joseph Rusling Meeker (American, 1827-1887), Morning on the Ohio River, 1871. Oil on canvas, 12” x 18”. Image courtesy of the Huntington Museum of Art. Photo by John Spurlock.
Huntington Museum of Art Acquires Work by Artist Joseph Rusling Meeker
The Huntington Museum of Art has announced the acquisition of an 1871 painting by Joseph Rusling Meeker titled Morning on the Ohio River. The painting was created in the same year that Huntington was founded.
Acquiring the Meeker painting is part of a goal by new HMA Executive Director Geoffrey K. Fleming to create a collection of artwork that either depicts West Virginia and its important River Valleys or that features artwork by West Virginia artists prior to 1940. This collection focusing on depictions of West Virginia and works by early West Virginia artists will help round out HMA's outstanding permanent art collection of more than 15,000 works.
"This painting is an important work and I am happy to say that it has found a home at the Huntington Museum of Art," Fleming said. "I believe there are many quality works depicting West Virginia or created by West Virginia artists that are affordable and could become part of HMA's permanent collection if funding can be found for this purpose." Fleming noted the Museum is seeking the donation of works that meet the above criteria to also help build this collection. “There are few things more enriching than to be able to visit a museum and view artworks that depict the place in which we were raised and live,” he continued.
Meeker was born in Auburn, New York, in 1827. He moved to New York City in 1845 to study at the National Academy of Design. His first art studio was established four years later in Buffalo, New York.
Meeker lived in Louisville, Ky., for most of the 1850s before relocating to St. Louis. Meeker's time in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War gave him the opportunity to study American waterways. Although he was a portrait artist earlier in his career, Meeker would later focus on landscapes that included important American waterways. Meeker died in 1887.
During his lifetime, Meeker's work was shown at the American Art-Union; the Boston Art Club; National Academy of Design; and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Meeker's artwork joins the permanent collection of the Huntington Museum of Art, but it can also be found in the collections of the University of Kentucky, Lexington; Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Saint Louis Art Museum; and Washington University Gallery of Art, among others.