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Walter Koeniger


Gallery Database:

Walter Koeniger ( 1881-1943). "The Pool In Winter," oil on canvas, 20 x 24, signed. Shown below in lemon gold frame.


Curator's Comments: 

Koeniger (1881-1943) 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, especially in winter, he used fresh, glowing colors to convey the crisp, vigorous mood of his settings. 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 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  paintings emphasizing a dominant white world and we are cautious in this regard. But The Winter Pool is in exceptionally good condition.


Koeniger's Winter Thaw brought $18,000.


Beautiful Lemon Gold Frame

G. Frank Muller's memoir of Woodstock at this time refers to Koeniger's pursuit of the moods of nature and his soft graduations of violet, purple, deep blue, and white.  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. Koeniger himself made reference to nature's "silent places," clearly a theme found in Winter Pool. 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.

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