American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name:        Walter Koeniger
Artist Dates:         1881-1943      
Painting Title:     
The Pool In Winter Painting Date:     Undated 
Oil on Canvas       Signature:             Signed Lower Left         Provenance:          Private Collection
Size Unframed:     20 x 24 
Frame Condition:  
Antique Lemon Gold
Artist Best Price:   $18,600
Offered At:        
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 nature’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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