Walter Launt Palmer, as son of the celebrated sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer, spent his childhood in Albany,
New York surrounded by artists. His first lessons in drawing and oil painting were from his father’s friend,
Frederic Edwin Church, in 1870. He debuted as an exhibitor at the National Academy of Design in 1872,
the following year left for Paris with his family. Upon his return home in 1877, Church and Palmer
studio together in New York City.
In 1887, Palmer was awarded the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Design for the best work
by an artist under the age of thirty-five. The painting which merited this honor was entitled January,
a winter landscape. This recognition signaled the beginning of an important legacy, and snow scenes
became more prominent in Palmer’s oeuvre. They were met by the public with mixed reviews, as viewers
tried to grasp the
unique aesthetic quality of his paintings; the use of delicate blue, pink, green, and violet
hues to describe shadows and reflections of light was a revolutionary concept.
Although he is known as “the painter of American winter,” Palmer’s body of work also includes refined interior
views, and scenes from travels to Europe and Mexico. Palmer was a member of the National Academy of Design,
Society of American Artists, Century Association, and the Salmagundi Club and exhibited his
works at the
Art Institute of Chicago and Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900), where he was awarded a prize. His
work may be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston;
Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; and at the Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, New York.