Reynolds Beal, (1867-1951). "Eddyville," 1915, oil on canvas, 30 x 36, signed. No. 145 in the Bressler catalogue raisonnee. Rich Gold frame, 33 x 43.
Reynolds Beal (1867-1951) helped foster American impressionism as the 20th century got underway. Like Lever and Lawson, he favored the Fauvist direction, with its strong link to the radical child like innocence of the American land. His Catskill Prospect focuses on Eddyville, a toy town surrounding the captured meander known as Pond Eddy. The river is the Roundout, flowing from the heart of the Catskills, into the Hudson at Kingston, whose back border is marked by the New York Central railroad bridge. Matisse and Derain appealed to impressionists like Beal who fell in love with their use of raw color and the simplicity of perspective they favored. Beal also studied their brushwork with its frenetic choppy strokes. And Beal transcended his local influences, building on the use of color that started with the tonalism he got from Henry Ward Ranger and the focus on light at the heart of Childe Hassam's impressionism, with the two young men painting together at times. In 1919 he was selected with Hassam, Glackens and other prestigious painters to exhibit at the Luxembourg Salon in Paris.
The lower Hudson valley was ground Beal knew well having hiked thru it many a time while in long residence from 1895 on at the family mansion called Wilellyen near Newburgh, New York, which had an unobstructed hillside view of the Hudson. Beal was supported by his gas magnate father and spent the golden years, as he called them, at home thru 1914. He was born in the Bronx and spent his childhood exploring and sketching the East River. He studied ship design at Cornell, and art at the Art Students League with John Twachtman and with William Merritt Chase at the Shinnecock School. From 1900 to 1907, he painted almost exclusively at the artist's community in coastal Noank, Connecticut with Henry Ward Ranger. After his break with Ranger in 1912, Beal focused more on the Hudson River Valley. He was most active as a painter from 1910 to 1920, and his masterpiece Eddyville is dated 1915. (Eddyville is listed as Number 145 in the Sidney Bressler Catalogue Raisonnee.) Beal exhibited at the Clauson Gallery (NY) and Kraushaar Gallery (NY) as early as 1929, and by 1934 he was an active participant in the Salmagundi Club, Lotus Club, Century Club, National Academy of Design and the American Water Color Society. Later, Beal turned his focus on Rockport and Gloucester in Massachusetts. His last studio overlooked Rockport's Inner Harbor, and he emphasized marine watercolors, and always his beloved traveling circus subjects, where he could capture the child like aspects of clowns and performers.