Dewitt Clinton Boutelle was heavily influenced by the Hudson River school of landscape painting but his talent was natural and his knowledge self-taught.
He found the work of the Hudson River painters inspiring and worked to emulate their aesthetic of realism, of expressing the natural beauty of America and their preference for locations around the riparian namesake of their school.
Dewitt Clinton Boutelle was possessed of a remarkable wanderlust, moving around a great deal during his life and living in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and in other locales over the course of his career.
He was, however, dedicated to the Hudson River Valley and it was almost the exclusive subject of his paintings. When he did leave the valley, he selected subjects such as Niagara Falls but these occasions were rare. His paintings were displayed in the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the Boston Athenaeum and several other venues over the course of his career.
In 1858, after years of living between various places, he finally settled down in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Design in 1851 and a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1862.