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Artist Name:      Walter Koeniger
Artist Dates:      1881-1943      
Painting Title:    
The Pool In Winter
Painting Date:    Undated
Medium:            Oil on Canvas       
Signature:           
Lower Left         
Provenance:       
Private Collection
Condition:          Excellent      
Size Unframed:   
20 x 24
Frame Condition: Lemon Gold
Artist Top Price:  $18,600
Offered At:         CALL    
Curator's Comments: Koeniger was not committed to Impressionism, except as a way of
communicating the emotional resonance he found in nature. He was long bonded to the Woodstock
ground he new so well, often repeating its scenery throughout the seasons. A plein-air painter, even
in winter, he used fresh, glowing colors to convey the crisp, vigorous mood of his settings. A 1925
catalogue emphasizes that Koeniger was an artist who dedicated his life to the depiction of the
American landscape, especially in the winter months, and clearly
he had a passion for frozen, snow-
covered scenes of winter, though he painted the landscape at all seasons and often in the same
setting. Still, Koeniger was one of the three greatest American painters of the snow, along with
Birge Harrison and Walter Launt Palmer. But there is an important difference in technique, with
Harrison achieving resonant whiteness through his brushwork (see our offered painting under
Harrison in this regard) and Palmer using luminescent violet and yellow to capture gleaming snow.
Koeniger went after a bleached extreme whiteness  and over the years altered his pigment with that
intent; unfortunately, this is now showing up as flaking in a number of later paintings emphasizing a
dominant white world
and we are cautious in this regard. The Winter Pool we offer is perfectly stable
and from an earlier period in Koeniger's work.
G. Frank Muller's memoir of Woodstock at this
time refers to Koeniger
's pursuit of the moods
of nature and the soft graduations of violet,
purple, deep blue, and white
, and do note that
Koeniger himself made reference to natur
e's
silent places, clearly a theme found in
Winter
Pool
. Muller said Koeniger's purpose was to
catch the spirit of nature and to capture and
hold the most fleeting moods, and he has done
just that in this work, which clearly expresses a
waiting for spring that must come. The sky
belongs to a perfect winter day without building
snow clouds. This is the pool we have all  been
bathing in during the summer, but it now
possessed of an intense and deep cold, while
remaining a vital source of potential. Trout will
be awaken here once again in the spring, and
the birch trees fulfill there promise. No two
trees in this painting are exactly alike--that is
Koeniger's genius. Like others of his works,
Winter Pool is about mirroring, about the pond's
endless reflections, about nature as homologue,
consistently beautiful in all its states, both in  
winter and the coming spring.
Koeniger's Winter Thaw brought $17,600 at Christies'.
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