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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:             
Signed Lower
Left
        Provenance:          Private
Collection
Condition:            Excellent      
Size Unframed:     
20 x 24
Frame Condition:   Antique Lemon Gold
Artist Best 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 “passionâ€� for â
€œfrozen, snow-covered scenes of winter,â€� 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 â
€œthe 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 pondâ
€™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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