James Suydam was described by his friend, Sanford Robinson Gifford as a “thoroughly educated and accomplished man.” In addition to his work as an artist, which he began only after dabbling with the law and architecture, he was widely read and well versed in history, philosophy, and the sciences. His work as a landscape painter reflects this breadth of knowledge and reveals Suydam as a deeply spiritual individual. Using his familiarity with science, Suydam reduced nature to calm, clean, planar forms, and then distorted proportional relations so that God’s creations loomed superior over the works of man.
Suydam’s artistic career ended abruptly with his untimely death at the age of 46. A man of some means, Suydam left an extensive collection of superb European and American paintings, as well as a $50,000 trust to the National Academy of Design, of which he had been a full member.
Due to his short career, Suydam’s paintings are extremely rare and much sought-after on the art market.