Distinguished landscape painter James Renwick Brevoort painted canvases with varying, but common to many of them was the changing of the seasons and the differing times of the day. He was best known for his use of perspective and for his treatment of landscapes in low color tones.
He was born in Yonkers Township, Westchester County, New York in 1832 and began his interest in sketching as a child, with works of rural Yonkers, Williamsbridge, and Fordham. He studied painting in the studio of then Vice President of the National Academy of Design, Thomas Cummings, and later at several schools in Europe.
At eighteen years of age, his study of architecture began at New York Universitys School of Design under the watchful eye of James Renwick, a cousin and prominent architect. He received his degree at NYU in 1854. Remaining in New York, his interest became centered on painting, and he exhibited at the National Academy of Design.
During the summer months, Brevoort customarily left the city and ventured to upper New York state and rural Connecticut to find more desirable subject matter, a migration common of many artists of the period. Along with other landscape painters, he found Rockland County attractive for its easy access by ferry to and from New York.
In the 1860s, his paintings changed primarily to watercolor, influenced by artist Samuel Colman. Brevoort became a member of the National Academy of Design in 1863, and in 1872 was named professor of perspective.
After the passing of his first wife, August Tuthill, he married artist Marie Louise Bascom in April 1873, who had received the first medal awarded by the school of the National Academy of Design. He then auctioned off all contents of his studio, including more than 150 landscape paintings, and he and his new wife traveled to Europe where he spent several years sketching scenes in Italy, England, and the Netherlands.
He visited many schools and art centers and studied the art contained in many museums and galleries. Until 1880, he and his wife lived in Florence, where there were many American artists. He later became a member of the Royal Academy at Urbino.
He returned to Yonkers, New York in 1880, and later built his own home where he died in 1918.