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William Franklin Draper (1912 - 2003)

Lot 252: 2 William Draper Paintings - Seaside Themes, 1940s

Artemis Gallery

August 18, 2022
Louisville, CO, US

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William Franklin Draper (American, 1912-2003). Two oil on canvas board paintings. "Wainscott Beach" ca. 1940s. Untitled boat scene, ca. 1940s. Two early William Draper seaside paintings. One presents a beautiful view of Wainscott Beach in East Hampton on the southern fork of Long Island, where Draper and his family lived during the summertime. Draper captures the dynamic ebb and flow of the tide with waves advancing toward and receding from the shore and sand dunes to the left of the composition. All is delineated with expressive loose brushwork and areas of thick impasto. Paired with this beach scene is a painted sketch of a boat near a dock with a grand expanse of the ocean beyond. The scene takes place at either at dawn or dusk given the subdued mauve palette and glimmers of dappling sunlight. Size of Wainscott Beach: 16" L x 20" W (40.6 cm x 50.8 cm) Size of boat sketch: 10" L x 20" W (25.4 cm x 50.8 cm)

William Franklin Draper was born in Hopedale, Massachusetts on December 24, 1912. A child prodigy, he studied classical piano at Harvard University. He later changed his focus to fine art and studied with Charles Webster Hawthorne and Henry Hensche in Provincetown, Rhode Island. Draper also attended the National Academy of Design in New York and the Cape Cod School of Art in Massachusetts. Then he traveled to Spain and studied with Harry Zimmerman, moved on to France and attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. In 1937, he moved to Boston to study sculpture with George Demetrius and also studied with Jon Corbino in beautiful Rockport, Massachusetts. In 1942, Draper joined the Navy and served as a combat artist when stationed on the Aleutian Islands and in the South Pacific. He observed and painted battle scenes on Bougainville, Guam, Saipan, and other locations, as well as genre scenes of soldiers who were not engaged in combat but rather at work and at play. National Geographic magazine reproduced 25 of his war images in four issues in 1944. In 1945, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. organized a group exhibition of works by five official war artists, including Draper. That same year the Metropolitan Museum of Art included Draper in an exhibition entitled, ''The War Against Japan.'' Draper was also featured in a PBS television show about combat artists entitled, "They Drew Fire" in May of 2000. After the war, Draper opened a studio on Park Avenue in New York City and continued to not only paint, but also play classical and jazz piano.

Draper's career spanned seven decades and his subjects included a portrait of John F. Kennedy that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. based upon an oil sketch for which the president sat in 1962. Draper was actually the only artist who painted JFK from life. Draper showed at Knoedler, the Graham Gallery, Portraits, Inc., the Far Gallery, The Findlay Galleries (New York, NY) and the Robert C. Vose Galleries (Boston, MA). His work has been included in shows at the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), The National Academy of Design (New York, NY), The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, (Boston, MA) the Fogg Art Museum, (one of the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA), the National Gallery, (London), Salon de la Marine (Paris) and in museums in Australia. He also taught at the Art Students League of New York, and received a lifetime achievement award from the Portrait Society of America in 1999.

Provenance: The William F. Draper Collection, New York City, USA, acquired via descent from the late William Franklin Draper (1912-2003), an accomplished American artist whose career spanned seven decades. Known as the "Dean of American Portraiture," William Draper was the only artist to paint President John F. Kennedy from life, and his oeuvre includes marvelous landscapes from his world travels, military paintings as he was one of only seventeen Combat Artists in WWII, and portraits of illustrious individuals.

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Condition Report

Beach scene has stains at upper right as shown. Both paintings have Draper Estate stamps on versos. Both show with slight age wear.

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