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Robert Emmett Owen


Gallery Database:

Robert Emmett Owen  (1878-1957). "Early

Thaw," oil on canvas, 16 x 20, signed.


Curator's Comment:

Owen  is truly unique as a New England impressionist owing to his ability to let the landscape speak its Yankee character. He has the seasons, the contours, the hills, trees leaves or not, covered bridges, barns  all very much in the style of Frost's poetry, with its starkly plain rendition and kindling emotional intensity. Most of all it is the scale of Owen's vision and the way it conveys the New England message. There is the freedom for man and nature to do what is desired without trespass; individuality always displays the necessary beauty. We know of no other painter who comes this close to the cultivated farmsteads revealed unexpectedly amid the rocky terrain. Here we show an Early Thaw, probably in the area of Campton, New Hampshire.


One of many Covered Bridge studies that
symbolize Owen's bond to New England


The Artist


The Mill at Silvermine, CT
brought $23,000.

Owen began his art training at the Drury Academy in his home town of North Adams, Massachusetts and won a  scholarship to study at the Eric Pape School of Art in Boston. After three years of training in Boston, Owen achieved further success from his commercial work as an illustrator, and over his lifetime, his drawings appeared in the Boston Globe, Scribners, and Harper's, among  other publications. In 1901, he moved to New York and continued his training at the Art Students League, the Chase School, and the National Academy of Design. Among his instructors were Frederick Mulhaupt and Leonard Ochtman.

After nine years in New York, Owen moved to Bagnall, Connecticut, near Stamford, in order to paint landscape subjects directly. His work was well received by critics and the public, and he received a number of important commissions from private clients, including Temple Gwathmey (former New York Stock Exchange president), the magnate Stephen H.P. Pell, Edward Stettinus (the former Secretary of State) and Percy Rockefeller. In 1920 he opened his own gallery on Madison Avenue, called the Robert Emmet Owen New England Landscape Gallery, where he exhibited and sold his own work.

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