Howard Logan Hildebrandt
Howard Logan Hildebrandt (1872-1958) "Cleaning the Catch, Gloucester," oil on artist board, 10 1/2 x 13 3/4, signed.
HILDEBRANDT'S SKETCH IS A
Hildebrandt was a painter's painter, and it is fitting that his most famous portrait (1947), which hangs in the Smithsonian, is of the tonalist Eliot Clark, head of the National Academy and son of American painter Walter Clark. A Pennsylvanian, Hildebrandt studied in France at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and J. P. Laurens. In New York, he worked at the National Academy, where his self-portrait still hangs. Sargent is a major influence on his portraiture, particularly in the figure-background relationship, but Hildebrandt preferred the outdoor portrait. His marine paintings frequently show fisherman at work, and an early work on this theme won an American Watercolor Society prize. Our painting of Gloucester fishermen is a small jeu d'esprit (more colorful than a larger work similarly titled), and we think its impressionism comes alive in the light, with the pink silver sheen of the catch glowing amid grey overtones. This is a casual work thrown off by a master with perfect skill that continues to capture our eye. We like the sketch with its silvery shine and greying skies much more than the larger work it bred. The more we look at this, the more impressed we are with its silve/grey/white contrasts--THIS IS A REAL GEM BY A MASTER AND OFFERED AT A BARGAIN PRICE.