Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927)
Property from the Estate of Doris Merrill Magowan Avid collector, educated connoisseur, dedicated philanthropist -- these words only begin to describe Doris Merrill Magowan. The daughter of Charles Edward Merrill, founder of Merrill Lynch, Doris Magowan grew up in New York and was educated at fine schools around the world. She married Robert Anderson Magowan in 1934, who became chairman and chief executive of Safeway supermarkets in 1955. The couple moved to San Francisco, but maintained their homes in New York City, Palm Beach and Southampton. Mrs. Magowan was a beloved member of each community -- a generous patron of local charities and the arts. As both a collector and a philanthropist, Mrs. Magowan was driven by a passion for beautiful things, a great appreciation for quality and a perfectionist's attention to detail. Her taste was both fashionable and timeless. In each of her homes, she carefully chose each piece and created a luxurious yet livable interior with gracefully inlaid and carved woods, gilt frames, exotic objects, rich upholstery, cheerful colors, and of course, wonderful paintings -- the Potthast featured here hung in the living room in San Francisco, opposite a striking view of the Bay. And one cannot forget her glorious gardens. Her fervor assembling her own collection was matched by that for the many institutions and charities she served. As founder of the Fall Antiques Show in San Francisco, she sought not only to bring the best dealers to the West Coast, but to present scholarly lectures and discussions about the decorative arts. As a benefactor to the de Young Museum, she went beyond donating important pieces and contributed her skill to their thoughtful presentation. She was respected not merely for her great generosity, but for her extraordinary eye and appreciation for quality. In addition to this painting, Christie's is honored to offer the Magowan Collection later this spring in a single-owner sale on May 22nd.
Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927)

A Family Outing

Details
Edward Henry Potthast (1857-1927)
A Family Outing
signed 'E Potthast' (lower right)
oil on board
11 7/8 x 15¾ in. (29.2 x 40 cm.)
Provenance
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1973.
Exhibited
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Comprehensive Exhibition of Paintings & Drawings by Edward Henry Potthast, 1857-1927, September 1968, no. 49, illustrated on front cover

Lot Essay

Around the time of the turn of the century, great political, economic and social changes allowed for the possibility and acceptance of the five-day work week and extended vacations. For Edward Henry Potthast, this increase in leisure time supplied subject matter which he painted over and over again. Among his favorites were outings at the seashore.

In A Family Outing, Potthast has captured "the heat, color, and light, and the rhythm of the figures, the sky, the sand and the water" to create "almost a snapshot of a moment at the seashore." (D. Smith-Hurd, Edward Henry Potthast, 1857-1927: An American Painter, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1994, n.p.) Like so many of Potthast's seashore paintings, A Family Outing is "a tribute to the carefree atmosphere of the seashore: happy children rollicking about, splashing in the surf, young mothers with children in their arms or beside their breeze-blown skirts, gossiping or strolling the beach; and family groups, picnicking, sunning themseves or chatting merrily on the sand beside gayly colored beach umbrellas." (Edward Henry Potthast, 1857-1927)

By choosing a vibrant palette, Potthast imbued his finest works such as A Family Outing with a lively and appealing character. The radiant blues of the sea are highlighted by the crisp white caps of the waves and the gleaming sand. While Potthast developed the beach scene with some regularity, A Family Outing differs from most of these paintings in its unusual perspective. The way in which the artist has cut off the bench at the right edge of the composition creates a truly impressionistic snapshot of the family's sunny day at the beach.
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