Art: The Nature Lovers

Soon after he settled in the U.S., British-born Francis Guy faced the fact that he would never get rich at his tailoring-and-dyeing business. To pad out his income, he tried an odd assortment of avocations—including verse writing, mixing toothache remedies and painting landscapes. None of these efforts made him rich, but his paint brush eventually attracted attention. Last week at Chicago's Art Institute, 125 years after his death, Francis Guy (1760-1820) was being referred to as a grandfather of U.S. landscape painting.

The semi-primitive work of Francis Guy and the smoother canvases of...

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