William Hart was a Scottish-born American landscape and cattle painter, and Hudson River School artist. His younger brother, James McDougal Hart, and his younger sister, Julie Hart Beers, were also Hudson River School artists. He studied under Jules-Joseph Lefebvre.
Hart was also known for his exceptional etchings. In 1883 the Art Department of the New England Manufacturers’ and Mechanics’ Institute, Boston, held an important exhibition of contemporary American art. Concentrating largely upon American drawings and etchings the exhibition catalogue listed 731 important works of original art. William Hart’s iconic etching, “Naponock (Naponoch) Scenery, Ulster County, New York”, was first exhibited at this exposition and is listed in the catalogue under number 362. An oil on canvas work from 1883, also of Naponock (Naponoch) scenery, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art – a direct bequest from Hart’s daughter, Jessie Hart White. In 1885, Hart painted A Quiet Nook which is now in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.