Fri, Feb 12, 2016 11:00AM EST - Sat, Feb 13, 2016 11:00AM EST
Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925)
Dory and Lobster Traps,1881
signed "W. L. Metcalf '81" lower right
oil on canvas, 14 by 18 in.
Gill & Lagodich, Ltd label on frame, inventory #1880, incised "R365" on stretcher
Willard Metcalf, one of the most important American Impressionists, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1858. His early art training took place at the Massachusetts Normal School and the Lowell Institute. In 1876 he was one of the initial students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where Metcalf studied under Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) and alongside Frank W. Benson (1862-1951) and others until 1879. He went on to become a member of the Ten American Painters and a leading influence in the Boston School of American Impressionism, as well as the Old Lyme Art Colony.
In 1881, the same year Metcalf painted this work, he travelled to the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico with a journalist for "Harper’s Magazine". The next year, in 1882, the artist had his first solo exhibition. He displayed seventy-six paintings at the gallery of J. Eastman Chase in Boston. Robust sales from the show and his illustrations helped fund his further study in Europe, which included time at the Académie Julian in Paris. It is likely that this painting was part of the exhibition, which included, "studies and finished pictures of New England subjects from Manchester, Plymouth, and Longwood, Massachusetts, along with Vermont, and Vinalhaven, Maine."
The present work, "Dory and Lobster Traps," demonstrates the artist’s sensitivity to light and landscape which would allow him to flourish as an impressionist. He became known for his studies on shore and the sea, and particularly his accuracy in depicting specific places.
Provenance: Private Collection, Maine
Private Collection, Wellesley, Massachusetts, acquired from John G. Hagan Fine Art
Literature: Richard J. Boyle, "Willard Metcalf," "Ten American Painters," New York, 1990, pp. 109-11. Ulrich W. Hiesinger, "Impressionism in America: The Ten American Painters," Munich, 1991, p. 241.
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