4th Jun, 2023 12:00 EDT

Pride of Place: Works from the Estate of Sydney F. Martin

  Lot 15


Edward Willis Redfield (American, 1869–1965)
Spring Veil

Signed 'E. W. REDFIELD' bottom right; also signed and titled 'Edward W. Redfield/Spring Vale' [sic] on old label verso, oil on canvas
50 1/4 x 56 in. (127.6 x 142cm)
Executed circa 1928.
In a Frederick Harer frame.


The Artist.
The Estate of the Artist (#74).
Collection of Elise Hume, the Artist's daughter.
McClees Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Acquired directly from the above.
Collection of Eleanor and Malcom Polis (Plymouth Meeting Gallery), Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
Acquired directly from the above in November 2008.
Collection of Sydney F. and Sharon Martin, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
The Estate of Sydney F. Martin.

$300,000 - $500,000

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Signed 'E. W. REDFIELD' bottom right; also signed and titled 'Edward W. Redfield/Spring Vale' [sic] on old label verso, oil on canvas
50 1/4 x 56 in. (127.6 x 142cm)
Executed circa 1928.
In a Frederick Harer frame.


The Artist.
The Estate of the Artist (#74).
Collection of Elise Hume, the Artist's daughter.
McClees Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Acquired directly from the above.
Collection of Eleanor and Malcom Polis (Plymouth Meeting Gallery), Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.
Acquired directly from the above in November 2008.
Collection of Sydney F. and Sharon Martin, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
The Estate of Sydney F. Martin.


“Twelfth Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Oil Paintings,” The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., November 30, 1930-January 11, 1931 (as Spring Veil).
“A Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of Edward Redfield,” Newman Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 23-November 30, 1968.
"A Retrospective Exhibition," Bucks County Conservancy, June 19-July 6, 1975.
“Edward Willis Redfield: First Master of the Twentieth Century Landscape,” Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, September 20, 1987-January 10, 1988; and The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, February 14-April 2, 1988 (traveling exhibition).
“Masterworks of American Impressionism: Edward Redfield and the New Hope Group,” James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, March 26-September 4, 1994.
“Earth, River and Light: Masterworks of Pennsylvania Impressionism,” James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, September 21- December 29, 2002 (as Spring Vale).
“The Painterly Voice: Bucks County’s Fertile Ground,” James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, October 22, 2011-April 1, 2012 (as Spring Vale).


John M. W. Fletcher, Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965), An American Impressionist: His Paintings and the Man Behind the Palette, Lahaska, Pennsylvania, 1996, fig. 13, p. 82 (illustrated as Spring Vale) and p. 182, no. 705 (listed as Spring Vale circa 1925, not illustrated).
J.M.W. Fletcher, Edward Willis Redfield, An American Impressionist 1869-1965: The Redfield Letters, Vol. II, Lahaska, Pennsylvania, 2000, p. 398, no. 234 (illustrated).
Thomas Folk, Edward Redfield: First Master of the Twentieth Century Landscape, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1987, no. 17, p. 72 (illustrated).
Brian H. Peterson, Pennsylvania Impressionism, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2002, no. 127, p. 212 (illustrated).


The present work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Edward Redfield's works being compiled by Dr. Thomas Folk.

In 1898, Edward Redfield and his wife moved from Glenside, Pennsylvania to the Belle Island Farm in Centre Bridge, just five miles north of New Hope, along the Delaware River and canal. The bucolic region became the artist's most favored subject; one he captured every season from his studio in Point Pleasant. In a 1929 interview, the artist confessed the region’s powerful, almost mystical, hold over him: "There is a real 'church': go there at sundown and watch the changing colors in earth and sky and water. It is a place to worship."

Of all the vistas Redfield produced, his Spring scenes appear amongst the most powerful, and sought-after works, as evidenced by Spring Veil, one of the largest canvases Redfield ever painted – a mythical oil largely reproduced and exhibited, which Redfield liked so much that he kept it his entire life.

Executed en plein-air, "at one go" for about seven continuous hours, Spring Veil depicts in thick and short brushstrokes a plunging view of the Delaware River in full bloom. The scene abounds with brightness and life. Redfield's familiarity with landscape painting, the large scale of the canvas, paired with his bold and swift application of paint through colorful and contrasting hues, are able to convey the bursting and reinvigorating feeling of spring, and tempt the viewer to walk right into the picture plane and enjoy the warmth of a peaceful, sunny day. Redfield started to paint his first Spring scenes in Point Pleasant in the 1910s. Contrary to earlier canvases of the same subject such as Spring at Point Pleasant on the Delaware Valley (sold at Freeman’s on June 14, 2020) which incorporated picturesque details of Bucks County’s rural daily life such as a farmer, or animals, the present work seems to make Spring its sole subject, so lush, abundant and luscious that the main tree at center – the true vertical of the entire composition - in fact obstructs much of the view of the downtown habitations and river, barely noticeable through touches of turquoise spread out across the horizon line. Here, Redfield attains maturity, and puts his vigorous impasto to the service of the painting, which becomes less narrative but gains in expressivity, and bravura. The artist composes an all-surface pattern that enhances the immediacy of the scene, prompting the viewer to lose sight of its specific facts and instead dive into a mesmerizing abstract composition - one of the artist's boldest and more modern depictions of spring. In doing so, Redfield permeates the canvas with his own personality and charisma - a robust, masculine energy that impressed his peers as much as it stunted them, and which he puts at the service of the greater American Art, making Spring Veil a perfect example of what a real American landscape, miles away from the western canyons and mountain ranges, can look and feel like: grand, serene, and bold.


The unlined canvas in overall very good condition, with a thin mark from the upper stretcher bar verso apparent along the top tier of the canvas, especially at upper right in the sky where residual varnish remains. Examination under UV light reveals that this mark has been meticulously and locally inpainted, not all the way through. With two minor series of vertical repairs also visible in the sky, close to the extreme edges, at upper center left and upper center right (most likely old rubbing or scratches). Very minimal. The rest of the composition is intact. See Specialist's pictures for more details.

To receive additional images or for more information about this Lot, please contact Specialist Raphael Chatroux at rchatroux@freemansauction.com

Frame: 59 x 65 x 2 1/2 in.

Please note: All lots show signs of wear consistent with age and use, and the absence of a statement regarding condition issues does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from imperfections or the effects of aging.

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Edward Willis Redfield

Edward Redfield