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John Francis Murphy SOLD


Gallery Database:


Artist Name:      John Francis Murphy
Artist Dates:      1853 - 1921       
Painting Title:    
At the Pond
Painting Date:    1901    
Medium:            Oil on Canvas           
Signed Lower Right  
Provenance:       Private Collection
Condition:          Very Good          
Size Unframed:  
13 7/8  x   21 3/8  
Frame Condition: Antique Excellent  
Artist Best Price: 
Offered At:         SORRY SOLD

Curator's Comment:

As the incredible sky of At The Pond  proves,  Murphy was a master tonalist. What attracts is the purity of his tonalism that glows perfectly, but without artificiality. His pure tonal unity is incredible and no hue is false. The term plein air hardly does credit to his incredible wind-blown autumn sky-work. Murphy typically prepared his canvases early to give time for the underpaint to dry and then applied brown, pink and gold, or grey and silver pigment, which he flattened with a palette-knife as a basis for later stages of rubbing (with pumice), lacquering and glazing. This is where the salmon-gold gleam in the sky of At the Pond comes from, and it is also seen in other Murphy masterpieces, including Sundown (1886)  and Sprout Lake (1915), the last-named being one of five of Murphy's works in the Smithsonian.

He was from Oswego (in the Finger Lakes), in the tradition of Reckard and Wyant. And Wyant's presence in the summers at Arkville in the Catskill Mountains between 1889 and 1892 had a very pronounced influence on the largely self-taught Murphy, who painted with him there. Following several very successful exhibits, Murphy was nominated to the National Academy in 1887, and won a Gold Medal in 1910. He married Adah Clifford, from Saratoga, New York, a landscape miniaturist, who exhibited widely and later taught alongside her husband in the Catskills. Other influences were the American George Inness and the French Barbizon School, meaning Corot, Rousseau and Daubigny. Murphy traveled to Europe, and Zellman in 300 Years of American Art called Murphy the American Corot, ranking him as one of America's most important painters of the poetic landscape. Zellman noted that Murphy "preferred to work in a palette of pink and green," which caused us some wonder until we acquired At The Pond, giving our collection a brilliant work in his cerise tinted gold. This is an important early work that glows with summer just as his October Afternoon  (shown below) is alive with the sense of autumn gusts. 


Gallery Database

Artist Name:     
John Francis Murphy
Artist Dates:     1853 - 1921       
Painting Title:   October Afternoon
Painting Date:   1897    
Medium:           Oil on Canvas           
Signed Lower Right  
Provenance:      Private Collection
Condition:         Good          
Size Unframed:  
14 1/8  x  22 1/2      
Frame Condition: Antique   
Artist Best Price: $93,500  
Offered At:            SOLD

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