Today, we remember the life of William Bliss Baker who died 122 years ago this month. Born in New York City in 1859, Baker was a landscape painter in the growing Realism movement that was sweeping the country post-Civil War, a movement that began in France in the 1850s as a counter to the Romanticism so prevalent in the arts at the time. Truth and accuracy were the goals of the Realists. Photography had just came into being, but it wasn't there yet, it was only black and white, certainly it couldn't capture what the painter with a full palette could.
Yet, Bliss Baker wouldn’t live long enough to reach his full potential; he died at age 27 from a spinal injury he received while ice skating several months earlier at his father’s house at Hoosick Falls, New York.
Baker’s painting “Fallen Monarch” is considered perhaps his most important work and it’s also so evocative of the season. When I walk into the woods near my house along Spring Creek, this is something like what I see.