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    Sale 2058

    Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

    4 December 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 142

    Gari Melchers (1860-1932)

    The Smithy

    Price Realised  

    Gari Melchers (1860-1932)
    The Smithy
    signed 'Gari Melchers.' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    57½ x 51½ in. (146.1 x 130.8 cm.)
    Painted circa 1910.


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    *This lot may be exempt from sales tax as set forth in the Sales Tax Notice in the back of the catalogue.

    The Smithy, painted circa 1910, is an exemplary painting from Gari Melcher's mature period that combines the finest qualities of his oeuvre. A monumental and heroic depiction of the working class in Holland, The Smithy's combination of naturalism, narrative detail and well-developed still life elements result in a captivating masterwork. The Smithy pays homage to the sanctity of family, as well as to the life of a tradesmen and his livelihood. In the present work a blacksmith sits in the foreground gazing directly at the viewer with his cat nestled against his leg. A younger man, likely the blacksmith's son, stands behind the central figure to the left, and a woman, possibly the young man's wife or sister, stands at right. She also stares out at the viewer, while he looks down, distracted by his wares. There are no overt actions in the painting, rather it subtly suggests a narrative, gathering several protagonists devoted to the success of a family trade. Melchers brings together his unique stylistic synthesis of the academic and the Impressionistic--a style born of varied education in the arts at a moment of broad changes in European art. Bridging two artistic traditions, the painting demonstrates the artist's free brushstroke, thick application of paint, and fascination with strong decorative detail, all the while retaining an academic sensibility.

    Special Notice

    No sales tax is due on the purchase price of this lot if it is picked up or delivered in the State of New York.


    Provenance

    Duncan Phillips, Washington, D.C.
    Gift to the present owner from the above, 1950.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of the Corcoran Gallery of Art sold to benefit the Acquisitions Fund*


    Literature

    Corcoran Gallery of Art, Third Exhibition: Oil Paintings by Contemporary American Artists, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1910, n.p., no. 131, illustrated.
    Carnegie Institute, Fifteenth Annual Exhibition of Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1911, n.p., no. 167, illustrated.
    Illustrated Catalogue of the Fine Art Section, Anglo-American Exposition, exhibition catalogue, London, 1914, pp. 39, 49, no. 241, illustrated.
    San Francisco Department of Fine Arts, Official Catalogue, exhibition catalogue, San Francisco, California, 1915, p. 161, no. 3687.
    D. Phillips, A Collection in the Making: A Survey of the Problems Involved in Collecting Pictures, Together with Brief Estimates of the Painters in the Phillips Memorial Gallery, New York, circa 1926, pp. 43-44, 103, pl. 59, illustrated.
    H. Lewis-Hind, Gari Melchers, Painter, New York, 1928, passim illustrated.
    The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Exhibition of a Retrospective Collection of Paintings, Representative of the Life Work of Gari Melchers, N.A., exhibition catalogue, Buffalo, New York, 1930, pp. 12-13, no. 23, illustrated.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art, Special Exhibition of Paintings by Gari Melchers and Edward W. Redfield, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1928, n.p., no. 9.
    D. Phillips, The Artist Sees Differently, Essays based upon the Philosophy of a Collection in the Making, vol. 2, New York, 1931, n.p., illustrated.
    American Academy of Arts and Letters, A Catalogue of an Exhibition of Paintings by Gari Melchers, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1932, p. 18, no. 19, illustrated.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art, Memorial Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Etchings by Gari Melchers, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1933, n.p., no. 5.
    Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Gari Melchers: A Memorial Exhibition of His Works, exhibition catalogue, Richmond, Virigina, 1938, p. 27, no. 17, illustrated.
    "Melchers Ranked High as Painter: American Was Considered Among Most Famous Modern Artists," The Sunday Star, November 1942, sec. B, p. 8.
    M. Altshuler, "3,000 Works to Be Shown At Least a Month," The Washington Post, January 8, 1951, sec. B, p. 1.
    "The Collections," The Corcoran Gallery Art Bulletin, vol. 4, no. 3, July 1951, pp. 5, 25.
    D. Phillips, A Catalogue of the Collection of American Paintings in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, vol. 2, Washington, D.C., 1973, pp. 40, 42, illustrated.
    J.G. Dreiss, Gari Melchers: His Works in the Belmont Collection, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1984, pp. xix, 110.
    G. Mesman, Julius Garibaldi Melchers (1860-1932), A Survey of His Dutch Paintings with Emphasis on His Religious Works, Ph.D. dissertation, City University of New York, 1990, pp. 73, 75-76, 164.
    J.A. Lewis, "The Corcoran Biennial: Delivery on Collection," The Washington Post, July 19, 1998, sec. G, p. 1.
    H. Burchard, "Corcoran Biennial: A Retreat in Reverse," The Washington Post, August 7, 1998, sec. N, p. 55.


    Exhibited

    Berlin, Germany, Grossen Berliner Kunst-Ausstellung, Gari Melchers Saal, 1900.
    Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, Third Exhibition: Oil Paintings by Contemporary American Artists, December 1910-January 1911, no. 131.
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Institute, Fifteenth Annual Exhibition of Paintings, 1911, no. 167.
    London, Anglo-American Exposition, 1914, no. 241.
    San Francisco, California, Department of Fine Arts, Panama Pacific International Exposition, 1915, no. 3687.
    Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Sixteenth Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists and a Group of Small Selected Bronzes by American Sculptors, April 9-June 12, 1922, no. 79.
    Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, Special Exhibition of Paintings by Gari Melchers and Edward W. Redfield, 1928, no. 9.
    Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Exhibition of a Retrospective Collection of Paintings, Representative of the Life Work of Gari Melchers, N.A., February 2-March 2, 1930, no. 23.
    New York, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Exhibition of Paintings by Gari Melchers, 1932.
    Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, Memorial Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Etchings by Gari Melchers, 1933, no. 5.
    Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Gari Melchers: A Memorial Exhibition of His Works, January 17-February 28, 1938, no. 17.
    Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1948, on loan.