Samuel Colman was a second-generation painter of the Hudson River School and a recorder of the American West.
Colman was born in Portland, Maine in 1832. His father was a fine-arts bookseller and publisher who moved to New York City while Samuel, Jr. was still a boy. His store on Broadway became a center for artists and literary types.
In New York, Colman studied painting under Hudson River School painter Asher B. Durand. At age 18 he showed his first painting at the National Academy of Design; in 1860 he was already an associate, and by 1862 he became a full academician. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
From 1860 to 1862 and from 1871 to 1875, Colman traveled to France, Italy, Spain and Morocco, studying and painting. His oils before 1870 are characterized by a lucid style indicative of an affinity for watercolor, which he also used. His later work shows the influence of the barbizon painters in bucolic, unpopulated scenes, broadly executed.
Colman died in New York City in 1920.