American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name:      Howard L. Hildebrandt
Artist Dates:        
1872-1958      
Painting Title:      
Gloucester Fishermen   
Painting Date:     
Undated
Medium:             Oil on Artist Board       
Signature:            
Signed        
Provenance:         
Private Collection
Condition:          Good      
Size Unframed:    
10 1/2 x 13 3/4
Size Framed:        15 1/4 x 18 1/4     
Frame Condition:  
Worn
Artist Best Price:  $82,250
Offered At:           CALL       
Curator's Comments: Hildebrandt was a painter’s painter, and it is fitting that his most
famous portrait (1947), which hangs in the Smithsonian, is of the tonalist Eliot Clark, head of the
National Academy and son of American painter Walter Clark. Another Pennsylvanian, Hildebrandt
studied in France at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and J. P. Laurens. In New York,
he worked at the National Academy, where his self-portrait still hangs. Sargent is a major influence
on his portraiture, particularly in the figure-background relationship, but Hildebrandt preferred the
outdoor portrait. His occasional paintings frequently show fisherman at work, and an early work on
this theme won an American Watercolor Society prize. Our painting of Gloucester Fisherman is a
small jeu d'esprit (more colorful than a larger work entitled, Cleaning the Catch), and we think its
impressionist study is perfect for the moment the painting comes alive in the light, with the pink
silver sheen of the catch glowing amid grey overtones. This is a casual work thrown off by a master
with perfect skill that continues to capture our eye. We like the sketch with its silvery shine and
greying skies much more than the larger work it bred.
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In Cleaning the Catch Hildebrandt
renders a more static construct.
Mending the Nets brought $8,000 in
2006--here too the posture grouping is formal.
Note:  Hildebrandt's signature at the lower right is partially indistinct, but unreinforced. A better
frame would add to the overall effect, and a light cleaning would benefit.