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Frederic Edwin (1826) Church (1826 - 1900)

Lot 144: PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF READER'S DIGEST FREDERIC EDWIN CHURCH 1826-1900 THE HIGHLANDS OF

Sotheby's

May 18, 2005
New York, NY, US

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Description

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF READER'S DIGEST FREDERIC EDWIN CHURCH 1826-1900 THE HIGHLANDS OF THE HUDSON RIVER

signed F.E. Church and dated '66, l.r.

oil on canvas

This painting will be included in Gerald Carr's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's oil paintings sponsored by Berry-Hill Galleries. We are grateful to Dr. Carr for his assistance on cataloguing this lot.
PROVENANCE

Mrs. A. Perry Osborn, Garrison-on-Hudson, New York
E.V. Thaw & Co., New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1983
EXHIBITED

New York, Kennedy Galleries, circa 1965
CATALOGUE NOTE

The Highlands of the Hudson depicts the view of West Point and the Hudson River from Castle Rock, also known as Osborn Castle, the home of the railroad entrepreneur William Henry Osborn, near Garrison, New York.

Gerald Carr writes: "Shortly before his retirement in 1882, Osborn had hired the architect Jarvis Morgan Slade (1852-82) to design a monumental Romanesque-style country home atop a promontory near Garrison, overlooking the Hudson opposite West Point. Completed in 1881, the building superseded two prior, smaller residences on the property sited below the top of the hill. After Osborn's death, friends affectionately remembered his business acumen, strong personality, philanthropy, and innate 'love of the beautiful in nature and art'...

"The Osborns numbered Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Church among their most 'cherished friends.' The circumstances under which they first encountered the yet-unmarried artist are not known, but William Osborn became acquainted with the painter by no later than the mid-1850s. By the spring of 1857 Osborn owned The Andes of Ecuador (1855, Reynolda House) and registered as the seventh subscriber for a chromolithograph of Church's Niagara Falls. In July 1858 Church reportedly visited West Point, possibly to see the Osborns on the opposite side of the river. Between 1865 and 1878 Osborn purchased two more major paintings by Church and at least five lesser ones, introduced the artist to prospective patrons, and assisted the Churches' tour to the Near East and Europe..." (Frederic Edwin Church: Catalogue Raisonne of Works of Art at Olana State Historic Site, vol.1, New York, 1994, pp. 433-435).

According to Dr. Carr, the hazy pink and gray clouds in the upper left quadrant of The Highlands of the Hudson River are evocative of Church's paintings of Jamaica. The shadows cast by these Caribbean-like clouds become diffused on the right-hand side of the composition, with clear light illuminating the precisely rendered foliage, rocks, sky and mountains. The care and attention of Church's rendering, particularly of the tree in the right foreground, may symbolize the friendship between the artist and Osborn, and their shared love of this Hudson River landscape.

Dimensions

14 by 21 in.

(35.6 by 53.4 cm)

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