Ogden M. Pleissner (1905-1983)Golden Hours
signed "Pleissner" lower left
watercolor, 27 by 18 in.
This important painting, with its vertical design, bold colors, and vibrant light, was commissioned for the Hercules Powder Company's 1953 calendar, and is considered one of the artist's most important fishing works.
Ogden Minton Pleissner was born in Brooklyn, New York, and studied figure painting and portraiture with Frank DuMond (1865-1951) and Frederick J. Boston (1855-1932) at the Art Students League of New York. Despite growing up in the city, Pleissner was attracted to the outdoors and, as a teen, he visited dude ranches in Wyoming, where he sketched from life. Pleissner wanted to be classified primarily as a landscape painter, who also loved to hunt and fish. His subjects range from the landscapes of Europe to salmon fishing in Quebec, and his style is informed by the classical traditions. In 1932 one of Pleissner’s paintings was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, making him the youngest artist in their collection. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, as a member of the Salmagundi Club, Pleissner frequently won club prizes in the annual shows and gained special note from Howard Devree, art critic for "The New York Times." Pleissner’s art is included in more than thirty public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His art hangs in the offices of the Pentagon, West Point, and the Air Force Academy.
Peter Bergh writes, "One can always sense, in Pleissner's sporting pictures, that he is painting the things he likes to look at in the places he likes to be...his ability to depict the sporting scene and to capture the essence of being outdoors is striking. This ability contributed a great deal to the quality and interest of his landscapes and certainly furthered his professional career."
Pleissner remembered, "We used to take our pack horses and tents and go up in the mountains to fish the trout streams and lakes. The trout out there were three or four pounds, and you could get them on a dry fly or any technique you wanted to use. There were lots of fish and beautiful streams. I always took my paints along..."
This bright, beautiful, sunlit scene captures the vibrant light bouncing off rocks and trees in a streamside setting. Its vivid clarity ranks among the best of Pleissner's fly-fishing watercolors.
Provenance: Hercules Incorporated Collection
Sotheby's, New York, November 28, 2001, lot 38
Private Collection, Massachusetts
Literature: Peter M. Bergh, "The Art of Ogden M. Pleissner," Boston, MA, 1984, pp. 73-74.
Pat Ryan, "A River Running Out of Eden," Sports Illustrated, May 25, 1970, pp. 86-102.
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