EDWARD WILLIS REDFIELD
Signed 'E.W. Redfield' bottom left; also titled, dated '1927' and signed 'E.W. Redfield' on upper stretcher verso, oil on canvas
38 x 50 in. (96.5 x 127cm)
In a Harer frame.
The Artist's son, Mr. Laurent Redfield.
By descent in the Redfield family.
Private Collection, New York, New York.
"Painting in the United States, 1948," Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 14-December 12, 1948.
"Exhibition of Paintings and Crafts by Edward W. Redfield," Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 1-November 22, 1959, no. 57.
Newman Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 23-November 30, 1968.
Constance Kimmerle, Edward E. Redfield, Just Values and Fine Seeing, James A. Michener Art Museum, 2005, p. 98, no. 52 (illustrated in color).
In 1903, Edward Redfield and his wife Elise, started summering in Boothbay Harbor, and Monhegan Island, Maine. With its rugged hills and shallow beaches, Maine's landscape provided Redfield with the liberating opportunity to explore and capture untouched forms of nature unique to the northern seacoast.
The seascapes Redfield painted in Maine during this period are considered among his best works, as they reflect his ferocious painterly method and his rapid, spontaneous brushstrokes which echo the artist's energy and virility. Robert Henri, who often joined the Redfields in Maine, noted the impression the artist had on the local inhabitants: "slinging the paint over big canvases, astounding the natives and astounding the local artists with his rapidity as well as his results..."
Painted circa 1927-1928, the present work depicts the rough seas along the shoreline at Monhegan Island, which Redfield immortalized in several canvases. Here, the artist builds up the paint with multiple layers of thick pigment, thus creating a rich impastoed texture reminiscent of his earlier snow scenes set in Bucks County. Through lively and rigorous brushstrokes, Redfield infuses a sense of power to the scene, indicating his ongoing fascination with the elements. The vividly-colored rocks in the foreground provide a strong contrast with the pastel-blue clear sky and the whitecaps of the sea in the background, producing a well-balanced jewel toned work which celebrates Maine's distinct landscape.
Although he returned to Maine every summer, Redfield confessed that painting water was always a challenge for him: "I've been trying to get the movement of it; the feel of the wind playing over the harbor, the color; the life. I've only been going up there painting water for a few years now. Maybe after seven or eight years of painting water I'll be able to get it right." The depiction of the ocean in this present work seems to prove otherwise. Redfield is able to capture the essence of the indomitable body of water through his vigorous, yet scaled brushwork. He counterbalances the roughness of the sea via deep greys and blues, which convey a striking sense of tranquility. Its title serves as a poetic reminder of the artist's meditative mood and interest in capturing the transient qualities of a deserted scene, when man is in full harmony with nature.
We wish to thank Dr. Thomas Folk for confirming the authenticity of the present lot. The painting will be included in Dr. Folk's forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of the artist's work.
Sold for $106,250 (buyer's premium included)