Figures by a river in an autumnal landscape monogrammed and dated 'JME 1867' (lower right) oil on canvas 16 1/8 x 28 1/8in
The landscapes painted by Jervis McEntee often capture the fleeting transition in nature between autumn and winter. In his journal, McEntee commented on the common misinterpretations of his work: "Some people call my landscapes gloomy and disagreeable. They say that I paint the sorrowful side of Nature, that I am attracted by the shadows more than by the sunshine. But this is a mistake. I would not reproduce a late November scene if it saddened me or seemed sad to me. In that season of the year Nature is not sad to me, but quiet, pensive, restful. She is not dying, but resting" (Sheldon, American painters, p.53).
In this contemplative landscape, two figures sit idly by the side of a stream. The few remaining leaves have lost most of their color and languidly droop from their branches. Though a thin layer of clouds cover the sky, radiant light rises from beyond the horizon, illuminating the landscape with a peaceful stillness.