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Lot 131: Detlef Sammann (1857-1938 Los Angeles, CA)

California & American Fine Art Auction

by John Moran Auctioneers

October 25, 2016

Monrovia, CA, USA

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  • Detlef Sammann (1857-1938 Los Angeles, CA)
  • Detlef Sammann (1857-1938 Los Angeles, CA)
  • Detlef Sammann (1857-1938 Los Angeles, CA)
  • Detlef Sammann (1857-1938 Los Angeles, CA)
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Description: ''Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers'', Miles Standish greeting an Indian chief while other pilgrims and Indians look on, 2 panels, each: unsigned, each: oil on canvas laid to panel with support stretchers, the first: 28.5'' H x 85.5'' W; the second: 28.5'' H x 92.25'' W, est: $8000/12,000. Exhibited: Blanchard Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, September 1910; The Doheny Mansion, Los Angeles, CA. Note: In March 1910, Detlef Sammann was commissioned by Edward L. Doheny to create a frieze thematically titled ''The American Indian from the Landing of the Pilgrims to the Present Day'' for the Indian Room located on the Upper Hall of Los Angeles' Doheny Mansion. Although Sammann abruptly stopped working on the commission in September before the final two panels were painted, the present work and subsequent four lots comprise the main portions of four of the six panels Sammann finished for the room. After first hanging in the Blanchard Building for a week-long exhibition in September 1910, the panels were installed in the Doheny Indian Room. ''Acclaimed for their 'subdued but forceful' palette and figures 'full of life and action''', these panels represent a departure from the Rococo-style murals and interior design for which the German-born artist was best known, but also foretell Sammann?s transition toward Plein Air Impressionism that would define the remainder of his artistic career (M. Bonino, ''The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home'', Los Angeles, CA, 2008, pp. 118, 120). The frieze begins with Pilgrim Miles Standish greeting an Indian chief in New England, and then moves west to depict an action-filled buffalo hunt. Presently, both of these scenes are divided into two separate panels, and, while the areas with figures and action are retained, some of the background foliage landscape Sammann utilized to decorate the corners and short turns of the room is lost. The narrative continues with ''Hitting the Post'', depicting a group of Indian men playing a traditional game, which originally hung in a prominent position over the fireplace. ''The Scout [eyeing a vulnerable] immigrant train [in] a vast desert expanse'' completes the present selection of murals. Missing from this grouping are ''The Coming of the White Trader'' and ''Squaw Coming through the Wood''. Sammann's scenes hung in the elegant Indian Room alongside works by some of the most important American Western painters including Charles Marion Russell and Frederic Remington. According to MaryAnn Bonino's book ''The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home'': ''Doheny both understood and had experienced the complexities of the frontier, its perils and injustices on both sides....The artworks in his Indian Room were both a commemoration of and lament for that time, a lost though recent past that had become, as he put it, a romanticized 'fiction''' (M. Bonino, p. 122). Dimensions of the second: 28.5'' H x 82.25'' W.

Condition Report: Visual: First panel: Lacking tacking edges. The canvas edge with scattered wear and losses, the largest a 4.25'' area of loss along the lower left edge. Second Panel: Lacking tacking edges. The canvas edge with scattered wear and losses, the largest a 5.75'' scattered area of loss along the lower center edge. Blacklight: First panel: Scattered spots and areas of touch-up along the four edges, many to address repaired nail holes. Areas of touch-up in the lower left corner and lower center. Other possible areas of touch-up scattered throughout. Difficult to read under uneven varnish. Second panel: Scattered spots and areas of touch-up along the four edges, many to address repaired nail holes. Small spots of touch-up scattered throughout the sky upper right and upper center. Other possible areas of touch-up scattered throughout. Difficult to read under uneven varnish.

Notes: In March 1910, Detlef Sammann was commissioned by Edward L. Doheny to create a frieze thematically titled ''The American Indian from the Landing of the Pilgrims to the Present Day'' for the Indian Room located on the Upper Hall of Los Angeles' Doheny Mansion. Although Sammann abruptly stopped working on the commission in September before the final two panels were painted, the present work and subsequent four lots comprise the main portions of four of the six panels Sammann finished for the room. After first hanging in the Blanchard Building for a week-long exhibition in September 1910, the panels were installed in the Doheny Indian Room. ''Acclaimed for their 'subdued but forceful' palette and figures 'full of life and action''', these panels represent a departure from the Rococo-style murals and interior design for which the German-born artist was best known, but also foretell Sammann?s transition toward Plein Air Impressionism that would define the remainder of his artistic career (M. Bonino, ''The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home'', Los Angeles, CA, 2008, pp. 118, 120). The frieze begins with Pilgrim Miles Standish greeting an Indian chief in New England, and then moves west to depict an action-filled buffalo hunt. Presently, both of these scenes are divided into two separate panels, and, while the areas with figures and action are retained, some of the background foliage landscape Sammann utilized to decorate the corners and short turns of the room is lost. The narrative continues with ''Hitting the Post'', depicting a group of Indian men playing a traditional game, which originally hung in a prominent position over the fireplace. ''The Scout [eyeing a vulnerable] immigrant train [in] a vast desert expanse'' completes the present selection of murals. Missing from this grouping are ''The Coming of the White Trader'' and ''Squaw Coming through the Wood''. Sammann's scenes hung in the elegant Indian Room alongside works by some of the most important American Western painters including Charles Marion Russell and Frederic Remington. According to MaryAnn Bonino's book ''The Doheny Mansion: A Biography of a Home'': ''Doheny both understood and had experienced the complexities of the frontier, its perils and injustices on both sides....The artworks in his Indian Room were both a commemoration of and lament for that time, a lost though recent past that had become, as he put it, a romanticized 'fiction''' (M. Bonino, p. 122). Dimensions of the second: 28.5'' H x 82.25'' W

Provenance: The artist; commissioned by Edward L. Doheny, March 1910

Dimensions: the first: 28.5'' H x 85.5'' W; the second: 28.5'' H x 92.25'' W

Artist or Maker: Detlef Sammann (1857-1938 Los Angeles, CA)

Exhibited: Blanchard Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, September 1910; The Doheny Mansion, Los Angeles, CA

Medium: each: oil on canvas laid to panel with support stretchers

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