Fine Art/Hudson River School
QUESTION: I am attaching an image of a framed 20" x 17" oil on canvas for your comments. There is possibly an obscured, illegible signature bottom right.
The gilt frame, which has some repairs, appears to be original to the painting as the nail holes match. 4432 is pencilled on the back of the frame.
The painting was bought at a local auction and has no provenance.
Could this painting be Hudson River School or perhaps American Barbizon?
You may win the prize for the best photographed artwork ever submitted to me on this service! Nice job. Wonderful frame, that I'd put in the 1880s. And yes, I would say you are safe to call this a Nineteenth century American landscape in the American Barbizon tradition, and quite possibly executed by a known Hudson River School artist. It doesn't have quite the polished look of a masterpiece or best effort by a known fine artist, more like illustration art, but hard to tell from a small internet thumbnail. For subject matter and composition, the name Worthington Whittredge pops into my head, for this Hudson River School artist depicted many interior woodland scenes. Certainly, having several diminutive figures in the large landscape helps the picture and is typical of what American artists of that time were all about -- that is, showing off nature's grandeur -- nature dwarfing man, etc. Heritage Auctions in Dallas TX recently auctioned an interior forest by Whittredge, so you might check with them. Whittredge signed "W. Whittredge" with a bit of a flourish on the tail of the "g". Don't get your hopes up too high, but perhaps this gives you something to look at.
Congratulations, you have a very handsome picture.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: The main image is the work of my good friend, Canadian architecture photographer, John Flatt. I must apologise for the image of the back of the frame - this belongs to another painting and was included in error.
It is indeed difficult to fully appreciate the painting from the thumbnail: the original 4 Mb file is at http://www.yousendit.com/download/UW13K3BCSU9VbTgxZXNUQw
in case you would be interested in viewing it. I would of course greatly appreciate any further comments.
Thanks for sharing. I would reiterate my comments from before. This picture really has the feel that it might accompany a wonderful story in an old children's book or periodical. I lean a bit more into the "illustration art" camp upon seeing it at full size. (Again, great photograph.)
One must remember that the great landscape painters of the nineteenth century set the tone and established tastes for an entire generation of artists and collectors. For every fine artist, that is today listed in our records, hundreds of others were following in such a style. That is why you will see in many auctions very nicely framed & packaged art pieces such as yours here, simply listed as "in the manner of..." or "in the style of..." or "following..." a well established school or genre.
Last thought. Take that picture out of the frame. Get a strong light on it. Rub a little saliva on your thumb or a Qtip and very, very gently explore the signature block. See if you can't find a little more about your artist's name. OK. 'Nuff from me. I have to go earn my living.