FRANCIS A. SILVA1835-1866
Second generation Hudson River School artist Francis Augustus Silva was born in New York City. His father was a merchant mariner and barber who emigrated from Madeira to New York in 1830. The boy showed an early predilection for art, exhibiting his ink drawings at the American Institute at the age of thirteen. He apprenticed to a sign painter in New York and decorated fire wagons, vans, and stagecoaches. In 1861 Silva enlisted in the New York militia and became a Captain of the Ninth New York Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. By 1864 Silva had taught himself painting and became one of the leading 19th century marine painters in the Luminist style, especially known for his sunrise and twilight scenes. He painted along the coastline from Chesapeake Bay to Cape Ann, Massachusetts as well as along the Hudson River. The Narragansett Bay region and Boston and Gloucester harbors were among his favorite sites. His earliest known painting is of Cape Ann. The artist maintained a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building in New York throughout his career.