George Hitchcock studied law at Harvard and practiced at the bar until age twenty-nine, when he turned to art. In 1879 he worked at the Académie Julian in Paris and the next year established a studio in Holland where he remained for the rest of his life.
He first established his reputation as a painter of large-scale religious paintings in which biblical subjects are garbed in contemporary peasant dress. He later turned from these loosely brushed works in silvery gray light to more brilliantly colorful, sunlit paintings of Dutch tulip fields and peasant women in colorful local dress.
Though less well known today, during his life he was regarded in Europe and America as one of the best painters of his period.
Emery Battis Artist Biographies for the exhibition American Impressionism: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2000)