Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MOUNT, William Sidney, painter, born in Setauket, L. I., 26 November, 1807; died there, 19 November, 1868. Until the age of seventeen he was, as he has said, a " hard-working farmer's-boy." At that time he went to New York, where he became associated with his elder brother, Henry S. Mount, as a sign-painter ; but his capacity for a higher order of art soon became evident, and he was enrolled as a student at the National academy of design in 1826. His first picture, a portrait of himself, was painted in 1828, and a year later he established himself as a portrait-painter in New York. He was elected an associate in 1831 and academician in 1832. The first painting that he exhibited was "The Daughter of Jairus," which was followed by other works of a similar character. He soon afterward returned to Setauket and devoted himself almost wholly to genre painting. "A Rustic Dance," his first picture of this class, had been exhibited in 1830. Among his subsequent works are "Men Husking Corn"; " Walking the Crack" ; " The Courtship" ; " Sportsman's Last Visit " (1835) ; " Farmer's Mooning" (1837) ; "The Raffle" (1837) ; "Bargaining for a Horse" and "The Truant Gambiers," in the New York historical society ; "Wringing the Pigs" ; "The Lucky Throw" ;" Boys Trapping" (1839) ; "Dance of the Haymakers" (1845) ; t "Power of Music" (1847); "Music is Contagious" ; "Raffling for a Goose" ; " Turn of the Leaf" (1849); "Cider-Making on Long Island"; "Who'll turn the Grindstone ?" (1851) ; " Fortune-Teller "; " California News" ; " BanjoPlayer " (1858); " Right and Left" ; "Just in Time" (1860) ; " Early Impressions are Lasting" (1864) ; and "Mutual Respect" (1868). Many of these were engraved and lithographed by Goupil and others in Europe. His portraits include those of James Rivington, Jeremiah Johnson, and General Francis B. Spinola. Mount was successful in depicting the humorous side of American rustic life, and he was one of the first of American artists to make a study of negro physiognomy and character. He was a good draughtsman, an accomplished colorist, and painted in a firm and decided manner, which gave a certain hardness to his pictures that is their only objection.--His brother, Henry Smith, born in Setauket, L. I., 9 October, 1802; died in Stony Brook, L. I., 10 January, 1841, though by profession a sign-painter, executed some creditable pictures of still-life. He exhibited frequently at the National academy, and was elected one of its associates in 1832.--Another brother, Shepard Alonzo, born in Setauket, L. I., 7 July, 1804; died in Stony Brook, L. I., 18 September, 1868, became known as a successful portrait-painter and exhibited numerous landscapes and pieces of still-life at the National academy. He was elected an associate in 1833 and academician in 1842. Among the portraits that he painted is one of his brother, William S. Mount.
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