Collecting James Taylor Harwood

Collecting James Taylor Harwood 

Open April 21 - June 16

Over the past few decades, Anthony's Fine Art and Antiques has established itself as the premier destination for purchasing and selling original works of art by James Taylor “J.T.” Harwood (Utah, 1860-1940). 

For this show, Anthony’s has gathered more than 60 works — many not publicly displayed together in nearly 100 years — by J. T. Harwood, a Founding Father of Utah art. The collection includes Harwood's depictions of early Utah landmarks, figurative works, and his travels through France and California.

J. T. Harwood is celebrated as one of Utah’s first prominent artists and was referred to as the Dean of Utah Artists by his students and followers. His artistic style changed over the course of his life from controlled Academic Realism toward Impressionism and finally his own brand of Pointilistic Impressionism. He worked in oil, hand-colored copper etching, photography, and watercolor, making him a Renaissance man of many talents and styles. 

Harwood was the first Utah artist to exhibit in the Paris Salon, which at the time was the most prestigious art event in the western world. Notably, he was the first Utah artist to study in France at the Académie Julian and was the first Utah painter to graduate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Harwood would go on to co-establish the first art academy in Utah based on French methods where he taught and influenced numerous Utah artists. He is also credited as being the first to teach a class on color etching in the United States. He was later named the President of the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. These are just a few of the artist’s accomplishments which support his artistic legacy in Utah and the world. 

We believe in the importance of fostering and preserving Utah's rich artistic legacy and as such, we remain committed to acquiring works of art by Harwood and exhibiting those works. It has been 83 years since Harwood created his last painting. Unfortunately, large-scale exhibitions featuring Utah's historical artists have not always been a priority within our artistic institutions.  As time continues to slip by, we feel a pressing obligation to promote and salvage Utah's art history, particularly that of Harwood, before it fades into obscurity.  We advocate for the preservation of historic art from Utah and urge all local art and educational institutions to share in this commitment.

The Collecting series is dedicated to showcasing the works of historical Utah artists, beginning with this exhibition and continuing with subsequent shows. This catalog is primarily intended for art collectors. By sharing Harwood's narrative, our aim is to underscore the significance of adding Harwood's works to a collection and their crucial role in the discourse surrounding local and global art history. We direct our message toward art collectors because, ultimately, they will be responsible for preserving this vital history.

The publication of this catalog has been made possible through the help of several connoisseurs of Utah art who have generously loaned us their precious collections. We are grateful to these distinguished collectors for allowing us the unique opportunity to showcase and publish their works, which have not been publicly displayed together for decades.

In addition to these exceptional works, Anthony’s currently owns several original works by Harwood that are available for purchase and are included in this catalog and accompanying exhibition. 


Portrait of James Taylor Harwood. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah, Ruth Harwood Photograph Collection, Circa 1900-1950.




Washerwomen, (1892). Oil on Canvas, 29.5 x 27.5 in. 

This ambitious scene of two French women washing clothing in a communal stream was sold to Alice Merrill Horne (1869–1948). Horne's remarkable life began in a humble log cabin in Fillmore, Utah. Horne would become the most influential figures in the arts in Utah history, founding more than 36 collections and establishing the Utah Department of Arts & Museums; the first of its kind in the United States. 

Horne was part of a group of female students, including Mary Teasedale, Louise Richards Farnsworth, and Myra Louise Sawyer, who followed Harwood to Europe. Upon returning to Utah, many of these women established successful careers as artists, educators, and administrators.

Despite numerous offers, Horne steadfastly refused to sell this painting during her lifetime, cherishing its beauty and her long, fruitful relationship with Harwood.

Salt Crested Rocks at Black Rock, (1898). Oil on canvas, 26 x 31 in. Governor’s Mansion of the State of Utah, Alice Merrill Horne Art Collection, Utah Division of Arts & Museums

The Utah Art Institute was established by the Utah Legislature three years after Utah became a state, with the aim of promoting the arts through an annual exhibition. Harwood's piece was the first to be included in the collection. The Gold-Medal works from each exhibition were, by law, acquired by the State. The awards for the first exhibition were almost entirely given to Harwood and his students. A contemporary account reads:

“The exhibition of the Utah Art Institute was crowded last evening. More than ordinary interest had been aroused by the announcement that the list of prize winners would be made public, and at 8:30 p.m, the hour for the announcement, President H.L.A. Culmer called for order and instantly every eye was directed his way, while the crowd drew nearer. Mr. Culmer preceded his reading of the list by a brief and clever talk upon art, the formation of the State Institute and what it means for the artists, the students and the public at large . . . First Prize — $300 for best picture by a Utah artist, picture to become property of the State for the Alice art collection. Awarded to No. 146, ‘Salt Crested Rocks at Black Rock,’ by JT Harwood.” (“Harwood Takes Prize,” The Salt Lake Tribune. 17 December 1899, 3.)

The limestone rocks depicted in this painting were likely deposited in the area by the Oquirrh Mountains millions of years ago. Human activity in the area dates back more than 13,000 years. For early pioneers, Black Rock was a popular swimming spot that could be reached after a four-hour wagon ride from Salt Lake City. However, by the late 1890s, the journey was shortened to less than an hour thanks to the Bamberger Electric Railroad.

A photo taken from “Blackrock Beach” on the shores of the Great Salt Lake in the 1870s. The Black Rock Site, which can be seen in the distance, was used as a water level measuring site in the 1870s, but is no longer underwater. Deseret News Archives.

Harwood's intention to depict the landscape as a pristine wilderness, free from the presence of beachgoers, was a deliberate choice. In reality, the area was often crowded with visitors at the time the painting was created. By portraying the scene as unspoiled and untouched, Harwood aimed to surprise the viewers of this painting. This approach reflected his advocacy for the protection and responsible use of natural resources, which was in line with the growing interest in national preservation projects during the era.

Autumn Mood, City Creek, (1901). Oil on canvas, 20.25 x 52 in. Huntsman Cancer Institute Collection

Three years following his victory in the Utah Art Institute's most significant competition, where he was awarded the Utah’s Art Institute’s first ever Gold Medal, Harwood submitted this piece. This artwork was 25 percent larger than his previous work and was the culmination of several years of study of City Creek Canyon.

Upon the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley, Orson Pratt established their initial encampment on July 22, 1847, at the mouth of City Creek Canyon. Early maps that were carried by pioneers designated the Creek as "Na-po-pah," the Shoshone term for water that flowed from the canyon, into the Jordan River, and ultimately, the Great Salt Lake. For nearly three decades until 1876, it was the only dependable source of water in the Valley. Church officials appointed water masters to collect water from the source and deliver it to each resident's plot for agricultural and drinking purposes. With the City's development, a system of underground pipes was created, making City Creek Canyon less crucial and infrequently visited. Harwood's painting was created a year prior to the establishment of Memory Grove, the area encompassing City Creek, featuring monuments honoring Utah's veterans.

Harwood began making images of the area after taking his position as Art Instructor at Salt Lake High School (i.e. now West High School). Taking the streetcar near his home and disembarking on the corner of State Street and North Temple, Harwood would often arrive long before school to sketch deep in the canyon.

This work is a remarkable achievement in terms of observation and control of value. The canvas is filled with hundreds of fallen leaves, each distinguished by its unique color, shape, and temperature. Despite this, Harwood expertly manipulates the light and dark areas of the composition to create subtle sight-lines that unconsciously guide viewers throughout the piece.

Over three decades later, Harwood will revisit this subject in a hand-colored copper etching created in France. Although by then, he will have shifted towards a more impressionistic style, he largely preserves the original work's composition, coloring, and values.