Alexander Pope Jr. (1849-1924)
Springer with Pheasant
signed "Alexander Pope" lower left
oil on canvas, 20 by 26 in.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc. label on back
Thomas Nygard Gallery label on back
Alexander Pope, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and began his art career as a young boy carving animals from the spare wood of his father’s lumber business. Although Pope had some formal instruction under Boston artists Walter Rimmer and William Copley, he was for the most part self-taught. Pope lived the entirety of his life in Boston, painting and sculpting works that revolved around hunting and fishing. According to author Alfred Frankenstein, Pope was “of the back-slapping, club-going variety who spent his entire life in and around Boston.”
An avid outdoorsman, Pope belonged to the Laurel Brook Club, a fly fishing and shooting club in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. A member from 1902 to 1908, he served on its Executive Committee with Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969). He was passionate about fishing and hunting and chose these subjects for his paintings and sculptures. Along with his contemporaries R. LaBarre Goodwin (1840-1910) and George Cope (1855-1929), Pope created "trompe l’oeil" still lifes, often featuring game birds.
During his lifetime, art critics not only admired his still lifes, but increasingly recognized Pope’s skill at painting dogs. Citing his ability to bestow intelligence and personality on his canine subjects, the "Boston Pilot", "The Courier", and the "Boston Post" all praised his work in their reviews. Describing the pieces exhibited by Pope in December of 1886, a writer from "The Courier" noted, “The excellence of the composition, the attractiveness of the subject, the technical ability shown, and perhaps more than all, the verve and dash of the work arouse enthusiasm to an unusual degree.”
"Spaniel with Pheasant" displays these attributes, with its deep hues and balanced composition. This is a classic portrait of a proud dog with its colorful quarry.
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