June 6, 2021 14:00 EST

American Art and Pennsylvania Impressionists

 
  Lot 60
 

60

Edward Willis Redfield (American, 1869–1965)
Island Farm (The Artist's House)

Signed 'E W REDFIELD' bottom right; also signed and titled on upper stretcher verso, oil on canvas
28 x 32 in. (71.1 x 81.3cm)
Executed circa 1910.

Provenance

John H. Garzoli, San Francisco, California.
Acquired directly from the above circa 1995.
Private Collection, California.

Estimated at $100,000 - $150,000


 

Signed 'E W REDFIELD' bottom right; also signed and titled on upper stretcher verso, oil on canvas
28 x 32 in. (71.1 x 81.3cm)
Executed circa 1910.

Provenance

John H. Garzoli, San Francisco, California.
Acquired directly from the above circa 1995.
Private Collection, California.

Literature

John M. W. Fletcher, Edward Willis Redfield 1869-1965, An American Impressionist: His Paintings and the Man Behind the Palette, Lahaska, Pennsylvania, 1996, p. 166, no. 336 (listed as Island Farm with the wrong dimensions, 23 x 32 in., not illustrated).
John M.W. Fletcher, Edward Willis Redfield, An American Impressionist 1869-1965: The Redfield Letters, Vol. II, Lahaska, Pennsylvania, 2002, no. 218, p. 397 (illustrated as Along the Delaware Canal).

Note

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

In the summer of 1898, Edward Redfield and his wife moved from Glenside, Pennsylvania to the rural village of Centre Bridge, just five miles north of New Hope. There, the Redfields bought a 127-acre strip of land beside the two path of the canal, overlooking the beautiful Delaware River. The farm, formerly used as a stable for mules, was situated on an island, in between the river bank and the canal. It is this house, the artist's first, that the present painting depicts. Redfield and his family stayed in the house until 1931, and it remained an important source of inspiration for the artist, who painted it several times in all four seasons, as exemplified by December, which shows the farm covered in snow, sitting tranquil by the frozen river.

Redfield chose the house not for the beauty of the countryside, but because this was a place where an independent, self-sufficient man could make a living from the land, bring up a family and still have the freedom to paint as he saw fit.” The relocation fitted Redfield's vision of manhood, mostly channeled by Henry David Thoreau, and yearning for a life of hard work and complete harmony with nature. In fact, Redfield was no different than most city dwellers who, in time of economic crises, traded life in a big, fuming city for a simpler, more peaceful existence in the back country. Redfield's house was furnished chiefly from the nearby driftwood and seasoned timber, and which he used to make tables, chairs and chests. As journalist Walter Dyer put it in a 1907 article specifically devoted to Redfield's presence in Centre Bridge, Redfield "made a dry and comfortable house of it, if not an elegant one." He concluded by giving credit to Redfield, ackowledging the simple way of life in the countryside provided an ideal environment for the full and authentic expression of one's self: "The Country called them and they went forth not knowing what the outcome would be. They have blazed the trail for those who follow. They have taught us one more lesson in the gospel of the simple life."

Redfield's life in the country strenghtened his character (each season was a new battle against the elements to keep the house in shape), but also deepened his respect for nature. In the present work, the house is barely noticeable: it is in complete harmony with its sourroundings, camouflaged behind the colorful leaves and vines of a full and lush autumn. It mirrors Redfield's attitude towards nature: secluded, fully immersed and waiting to be noticed.

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Edward Willis Redfield