Brook in Summer

Jacob Cox (American, 1810-1892)

Currently on View in K211
Image Licensing

This elaborate pastoral landscape with its background mountains shows the artist's skill at depicting a variety of foliage touched by autumn colors and bright sunlight.

Brook in Summer is probably a composite of sketches of the Indianapolis countryside and views invented by Cox.


Jacob Cox was born in Burlington New Jersey, the first of ten children born to a Quaker couple who died in separate ferry accidents. Cox’s grandfather and aunt in Washington, Pennsylvania became his guardians. By that time the young Cox was already interested in art. He was apprenticed to a tinsmith at the age of sixteen. In 1830, Cox and his brother established a tinsmith shop, first in Pittsburgh and later in Indianapolis. The business prospered forcing Cox to pursue his painting during his spare time. By 1835 painting portraits was added to Cox’s business. Cox closed his shop and traveled to Cincinnati to study with John Dunn, returning to Indianapolis to paint portraits of such local notables as Senator Oliver Smith, Governors David Wallace and Noah Noble, State Treasurer Samuel Merrill, and numerous prominent businessmen and their families. His success enabled Cox to travel to New York City to study briefly at the National Academy of Design. Upon his return, he found time to add landscapes and still life to his repertoire. When the Indiana School of Art was established in Indianapolis in 1877, Cox became one of its teachers. He continued to paint and exhibit until his death at eighty one.

Brook in Summer reflects Cox’s high regard for traditional, pastoral landscapes filled with lush scenery and soft light. Cox varies the format of the traditional landscape by placing the trees, bushes and fallen branches randomly, as they appear in nature, rather than in an idealized order. This setting is probably a composite of sketches of the Indianapolis countryside and views invented by Cox.


Paintings by Jacob Cox a Retrospective Exhibition of Work by an Early Indianapolis Artist, Indianapolis: John Herron Art Museum, 1941. ASIN: B001O1F2TS

Object Information

Jacob Cox (American, 1810-1892)
creation date
oil on canvas
30 x 50 in.
38-1/4 x 58-3/4 x 6-3/4 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Gift of Mrs. John R. Wilson
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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