American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name:        Robert Emmett Owen Artist Dates:         1878 - 1957
Painting Title:      
Early Thaw
Painting Date:      Undated
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Right
Private Collection
Size Unframed:      16 x 20
Frame Condition:   Antique
Artist Best Price:   $22,800
Offered  At:          
Curator's Comments: Owen  is truly unique as a New England impressionist owing to his ability to let the landscape speak its character. He has the seasons, the contours, the hills, trees leaves or not, covered bridges, barns  all very much, as others have noted, in the style of Frost’s poetry, with its starkly plain rendition and kindling emotional intensity.

Most of all it is the scale of Owen’s vision and the way it conveys the New England message—there is the freedom for man and nature to do what is desired without trespass; individuality always displays the necessary beauty. We know of no other painter who comes this close to the sudden cultivated farmsteads revealed unexpectedly amid the rocky terrain. Here we show an
Early Thaw, probably in the area of Campton, New Hampshire, as our comparative work indicates. Campton was once Compton ( with the new spelling following the New Hampshire broad “a” sound), and  a town Owen targeted for its Blair Bridge, the longest of New England’s covered spans, and an object of his fascination with these symbols of a private crossing that was very much his own too. Here we see the New England farmstead in its perfectly simple clarity--in a gem of a painting in near perfect condition.
Owen began his art training at the Drury Academy in his home town of North Adams, Massachusetts and won a  scholarship to study at the Eric Pape School of Art in Boston. After three years of training in Boston, Owen achieved further success from his commercial work as an illustrator, and over his lifetime, his drawings appeared in the Boston Globe, Scribners, and Harper's, among  other publications.

In 1901, he moved to New York and continued his training at the Art Students League, the Chase School, and the National Academy of Design. Among his instructors were Frederick Malhaupt and Leonard Ochtman. In New York, Owen became aware of the art of leading American Impressionists and began to create works that reflected their influence, in particular that of Willard Metcalf and Childe Hassam.

After nine years in New York, Owen moved to Bagnall, Connecticut, near Stamford, in order to paint landscape subjects directly. His work was well received by critics and the public, and he received a number of important commissions from private clients, including  Temple Gwathmey (former New York Stock Exchange president), the magnate Stephen H.P. Pell, Edward Stettinus (the former Secretary of State) and Percy Rockefeller.
Owen returned to New York in 1920 and opened a gallery on Madison Avenue, called the Robert Emmet Owen New England Landscape Gallery, where he exhibited and sold his own work. The gallery was successful for  21 years, but when the U.S. entered WWII in 1941, Owen felt it was time to shut up shop and move to New Rochelle, New York, where he returned to painting as the artist in residence at the Thomas Paine Memorial Museum.
In addition to the National Academy of Design, the Greenwich Society of Artists, and the Connecticut Academy of the Fine Arts, Owen showed his work at the Anderson Galleries, New York;  the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago; Dartmouth College, and  Mount Holyoke College. His work may be found in the Frick Collection, the Bruce Museum, Greenwich Connecticut; and the Greenwich Public Library. Major retrospectives of Owen’s masterpiece oils were held at Boston’s Voss Gallery (1985) and in New York in 1999 and 2003.
The Artist, ca. 1925
One of many Covered Bridge studies that symbolize Owen's bond to New England
Another view of Compton now Campton.
Note brushwork for trees and sky values.
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