American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name:        Ernest Lawson      
Artist Dates:        
1873 - 1939      
Painting Title:      
Reflections of Spring
Painting Date:      
Undated, ca. 1911     
Medium:             
Oil on Canvas
Signature:            Signed           
Provenance:        
Private Collection    
Condition:           
Very Good
Size Unframed:    24 x 30   
Frame Condition:  
Mint Reproduction
Artist Best Price:   $564,800
Offered At:          CALL       
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Curator's Comments: We our pleased to have a Lawson back to
offer, having sold  a view in the Colorado series focused on the Silver
Dollar Mine at Cripple Creek, which we well remember and miss. Our
new offering is early,  a view of the upper Bronx River, and impressive
for its joyous tones that blend sky, riverbank, the stream and the
meadow. Below we show two similar experiments with river reflections
that continue Lawson
's study of this theme.  Lawson was born in
Halifax, studied in France, but came under the influence of Twachtman
at the Art Students League in New York in 1890. From 1893 to 1898,
he studied in Paris at the Academy Julian with Jean Paul Laurens and
Benjamin Constant.  In Paris, he shared a studio with Somerset
Maugham, who used him as the prototype for Frederic Lawson in his
novel, Of Human Bondage.  Later the Weir brothers were another
influence. By 1898, he had moved to the city
's Washington Heights
section, where countryside and river views still dominated. Later,
Lawson left New York, painting and traveling widely, until he settled in
Florida at the close of his career. He participated in both the landmark
exhibition of The Eight in 1908 and the Armory Show of 1913—but his
work is unallied with either Ashcan Realism or the Surrealism to
come. Impression remained his metier, and his support of The Eight is
owing to a close friendship with Glackens.
     
   
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We think of Lawson, along with Redfield and Schofield, as one of the
three preeminent U.S. landscape artists of the first half of the 20th
century. These painters achieved a breakthrough, going far beyond
naturalism, tonalism, and even impressionism to create the unique
mode of expression that we call
art. Lawson's impasto technique is
thickly layered onto the  canvas, in what is clearly a very fine
representation of what critic J.G. Huneker called coloration "made
from crushed jewels." What is genuinely magical about the painting we
offer is that it gleams a total pink-yellow-cobalt and bright verdant
green when illuminated by horizontal beams of daylight. This work is
one of the finest examples of Lawson's brushwork and impasto that we
have ever seen--particularly so in the forefront riverbank. Throughout
the texture is magnificent. The light blue cobalt of the sky reflects into
the deeper cobalt of the river that throws reflection onto the stony
bank in a cobalt blue of medium hue that brightens the green shades
that reflect back up to the glowing sky. The effect is a truly wondrous
experience for the eye of the viewer.  The signature is in the painting
and does not fluoresce under UV--it is rendered in the medium cobalt
hue and readily seen in natural light when the painting is laid flat. But
when the painting is hung it blends into the riverbank where Lawson
put his mark between two areas of the same color, partially disguising
it, and we think working it into the painting's theme--since this
masterpiece is  his reflection ultimately. Of course the impasto
technique has led to condition problems with many Lawsons--and we
have been searching for a work in the best condition possible. So we
are pleased to quote a condition report on the current work preparered
by the noted restorer Simon Parks: "This painting is in perfect
condition. The canvas has never been removed from its original
stretcher. The paint layer is clean and is not only stable, but has not
been retouched and unusually for a work by Lawson, has no disturbing
cracking or distortion. The picture should be hung as is." Crackelure is
minimal.
Red Rooftops also focuses on river reflection
Ernest Lawson, ca. 1920
River Landscape brought $60,000 in 2006
The Bronx River flows south from
upper Westchester, past White
Plains, then south-southwest
through the northern suburbs,
passing Edgemont, Tuckahoe,
Eastchester, and Bronxville,  
emptying into the East River.
Lawson favored this area, perfectly
pastoral during his residence,  and
further south he painted the
Harlem River that divides
Manhattan and the Bronx.