American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Curator's Comments: Charles P. Gruppe died in Rockport, Massachusetts, on September 30,
1940 at his studio. He was 80 and had been painting in Rockport for 15 years, along with wintering in
his New York studio. His son, the master American painter Emile Gruppe  (one of four who all went
into the arts) died in 1978 at 78. Until 1929, the two Gruppes, father and son shared a studio on
Bearskin Neck in Rockport. Then, in 1929, Emile decided make his own fortune and moved to nearby
Gloucester where he purchased an old school house on Rocky Neck to use as a live-in studio. Emile
painted in the Rockport area for 53 years, wintering in Florida and in Jeffersonville, Vermont, and
building an impressive career that went even beyond his father's greatness. Then there are two
grandchildren working today as active living painters, which tells you that the legacy of Charles P.
Gruppe was to painting itself. Despite a stern European visage, Charles Gruppe was said to have a
sunny and optimistic disposition. He had little formal education and no visible advantages in his early
youth. What he did have was a strong love of painting which seemed inborn to him, and he achieved
success as a painter, first in Holland and then in America.
Artist Name:          Charles P. Gruppe'
Artist Dates:           1860-1940
Painting Title:        The Floodgate
Painting Date:        Undated
Medium:                Oil on Canvas
Signature:              Signed Lower Left
Provenance:           Private Collection
Condition:              Excellent-Relined
Size Unframed:       20  x 24
Frame Condition:    Mint Reproduction
Artist Best Price:     $16,730
Offered At:             SORRY SOLD
It is important to note that Charles, the father, had all ready built a significant career in Holland,
before coming to America just before WWI, when the family also added the accent to the Germanic
Gruppe which became Gruppe'. He was born in Picton, Canada, September 3, 1860, and at ten,
moved with his family to Rochester, N.Y., after the death of his father. Interested in painting from
an early age, he worked in a sign shop to provide family support. At twenty-one, he sailed steerage
to Europe, settling in Holland, after travel in Germany, and built a home and studio in the little
fishing village of Katwyk ann Zee and painted much of his European work in the vicinity of that
town. While in Holland, his skill at subtle coloration and careful draftsmanship became so identified
with the Dutch School of painting that he was elected to the exclusive Pulchre Studio in the Hague,
something highly unique for an American. Gruppe spent over twenty years in Holland, becoming a
distinguished artist and ultimately being patronized by the royalty of Europe. He was honored with
numerous awards and medals, including gold medals at Paris and Rouen, and also at the World's
Fair in St. Louis in 1903.

Gruppe' returned to America, not to Rochester but to New York City, where he took an
apartment/studio at Carnegie Hall. There he painted and supervised Emile's (born in Rochester)
education as a painter and mixed with fellow artists as a member of the Salmagundi Club, where he
was known as Clever Dutch. The story is that in 1925, after seeing an exhibition in New York that
featured the beautiful winter harbor scenes of Gloucester by Frederick Mulhaupt, the Gruppe’
father and son team headed to Cape Ann, to see for themselves. "Mulhaupt got the smell of
Gloucester on canvas," Emile had said, and he and his father remained. Charles Gruppe's paintings
can be found in the best collections of Europe and America, but whether Emile ever got the better of
him is a difficult question rooted in taste. While Emile was a superb colorist with an  impressionistic
style, we prefer Gruppe Sr., who has the advantage of his son when it comes to being in the
The American masters Frank Duveneck, Merritt Chase
and Twachtman were all in Munich at various times
between 1874 and 1876, even establishing the American
Artists of Munich club. Gruppe' Sr., who was there later,
was also clearly influenced by the Munich landscape
style, with its silver-grey skies, and the same treatment
is at work in the Dutch school of his time. But in
America, the Munich influence worked against Gruppe
Sr. in Rockport and Gloucester. It was his son Emile's
work that captured the colors of the American scene
with a superior sense of their interplay. Clearly a
comparison, given the same harbor subjects, shows
Gruppe' Sr. with an older, less impressionistic sense of
light. Where Gruppe Sr. excelled was in a series of
works painted in Woodstock and nearby Connecticut, of
The Floodgate may be his very best, and of which
we show a very close companion,
The Footbridge for
Gruppe's The Foot bridge, brought $10,000 in 2003
These works display an incredible harmony of grey, green, earth-brown  and silver that resonates in
the harmony of their triad of subject. Gruppe' Sr. here gives us the water in its many
manifestations, the meadow and trees (another set or permutations), the stony land ranging from
grey into earth tones and the human element comprised of weathered wood. There is no hostility,
only a sharp clarity that shows the human construct subject to the multiplicity, strength and
direction taken by the natural elements. These are among the finest American landscapes ever--and
we are very, very proud to offer
The Floodgate, certainly one of the most masterful paintings of
Gruppe's artistic career.
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