Fine Art/possible Hudson River School paintings
I recently purchased 2 paintings that may be by HRS or Rocky Mountain School artists.
I have attached photos. The smaller painting of the fisherman is unsigned and undated. The larger painting is signed ANDREWS (lr).
I purchased the smaller one (unsigned fisherman) from a thrift store in Denver and the Andrews painting from a thrift store in Oregon, so I have no idea of the provenance. However, on the wood on the back of the Andrews painting, I can faintly see writing in pencil that says "This purchased..." and the rest is so faint I cannot read it. On the side of the back wood, I can see something that is probably the purchaser's name (I can make out an "M" or "H" followed by "..ally" or "allu" but the first letters are too faint to read. It might be "McNally"?), followed by "3217 Mitchell Ave." When I Google "3217 Mitchell Ave.", it comes up in St. Joseph, Missouri. I know Bierstadt was in St. Joseph, Mo in 1863, making his way to Oregon (where the painting was purchased), so perhaps this is connected?
The smaller one (oil on stretched canvas) measures 12" X 14.25" and the Andrews painting (oil on stretched canvas) measures 16.5" X 23.5." The unsigned one has a bit of paint loss in the sky, both have craquelure, and there are stretcher bar marks on the Andrews painting, but otherwise they are undamaged.
I would appreciate any information or a referral to someone who may be able to help me. I live in a fairly rural area with a paucity of art experts, so I am having a difficult time!
Thank you in advance for any assistance.
Seems you are unafraid to travel in your pursuit of fine art. I'd encourage you to make contact with auctioneers and galleries (perhaps Aspire Auctions in Cleveland/Pittsburgh) within driving distance. Send them as many detailed photographs as you can. You may get to the point where it is worth your time to load the pictures in your car and make in person visits.
You are an intrepid researcher, too. Do a little homework on Andrew Andrews, American Painter, (1837-?). His works are not widespread, but he is a well known accomplished Hudson River School painter whose accomplished landscapes hang in prominent institutions, including the White House.
You could safely call both pictures of the Hudson River School genre. They both look to be nineteenth century landscapes, depicting nature in all her splendor. Of the two pictures, I like the "Andrews" seaside, and would put more research time into that, if I were you. I'd caution that "A. Andrews" was his most frequent signature block. Get out the magnifying glass...can you spot a first initial? Often, looking at old paintings under u/v black light will help find signatures, and also delineate what is old paint and what has been retouched.
The riverside fisherman looks like the type of fairly widely produced and/or copied landscape prevalent in the late nineteenth century. I do not think it is an original Albert Bierstadt. It does not have the fine skill or depth of one of America's finest landscape artists of all time, and I would be astonished if you found a Bierstadt in a thrift shop! But that is only my opinion. I'd urge you to seek others.
Don't hesitate to contact ANY auction house or gallery that handles HRS pictures. Send them as many close up photos, (hi-res digitals) as you can. In the end, that may save you time and expense in trucking them around.
In sum, you have a nice collection of artwork going! Congratulations, and best of luck in your ongoing investigation.