Alfred Cornelius Howland, a painter of light-filled, story-telling landscapes and genre scenes, was born in 1838 in Walpole, New Hampshire. He found employment as an engraver when he went to Boston in 1855 to study art. When he lived in New York City two years later, he worked as an artist at a lithographic printing company.
In 1860, he began three years of study (two with Albert Flamm) at the Dusseldorf Academy in Germany. Howland then traveled to the more congenial, to him, aesthetic venue of Paris and the Barbizon School of landscape and figure painting versus the meticulous realism of Dusseldorf. By means of an introduction from Camille Corot, Howland became friends with two of the major French painters of the Barbizon School, Jean Francois Millet and Theodore Rousseau.
This penchant for friendship with well-known artists was exercised again with Winslow Homer and landscape painter Homer D. Martin when Howland eventually returned to America in 1865. While his primary residence was in New York City, Howland spent summers in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He died in 1909 in Pasadena, California.
Alfred Cornelius Howland was a member of the Artists Fund Society of New York, the Century Association, and the National Academy of Design. His work is at the Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.