Attributed to Louisa Davis Minot (American, 1788-1858)
Unsigned, titled and attributed on a handwritten gummed label affixed to the stretcher, with a temporary loan label from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, also on the stretcher.
Oil on canvas, 22 x 30 1/8 in. (55.7 x 76.0 cm), framed.
Condition: Small puncture in u.l. quadrant, old repair to u.c. edge, craquelure, varnish discoloration and inconsistencies, surface grime.
N.B. While clearly a painter of both talent and ambition, Louisa Davis Minot remains a bit of a mystery. Only two paintings by her are documented, both large oils of Niagara Falls, dating to 1818, in the collection of the New York Historical Society. These works were featured in the recent traveling exhibition The Poetry of Nature: Hudson River School Landscapes from the New York Historical Society. Biographical information is scant: she married a Boston lawyer in 1810, bore five children, and was both a published author and accomplished painter. From the few known works, it is clear she was unabashed about painting landscapes on a grand scale, communicating the power and awe of nature that characterized the Hudson River School, and doing so prior to Thomas Cole's pivotal excursion to the Catskills in 1825.
The painting at hand has a temporary loan label from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The specific reason for the loan has not yet be traced, but the early number suggests the loan was around the year 1915.
Condition: Framed dimensions are 28 x 36 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches.
Under UV examination, the surface presents a somewhat milky appearance. The old repair at u.c. edge is a small surface loss of 1/4 inch with old retouch. There is fine craquelure overall. Regarding varnish inconsistencies, there are a few sections, notably in areas of dark foliage and shade in the l.l. quadrant and l.r. corner, where the surface appears shiny and almost black, especially when viewed in raking light. There is general varnish discoloration and surface dust and grime.
Further provenance notes: The painting was purchased by the current owner in the 1970s in Boston at a used furniture store on Charles Street or in the Back Bay that carried artwork as well as furniture. The buyer did not know the identity of the artist but was drawn to the subject matter which he believed to be Crawford Notch or perhaps Franconia Notch, as interpreted by the artist. He and his wife collected for pleasure, assembling a small group of Hudson River School and White Mountains paintings over the years.
Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.