Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965)
Property of an Estate
Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965)

Hillside and Valley, Point Pleasant

Edward Willis Redfield (1869-1965)
Hillside and Valley, Point Pleasant
signed 'EW Redfield' (lower right)--signed again and inscribed with title indistinctly (on a label affixed to the stretcher)
oil on canvas
28 x 32¼ in. (71.1 x 81.9 cm.)
Titus C. Geesey, Wilmington, Delaware.
Private collection, Delaware.
Christie's, New York, 5 December 1986, lot 250.
Private collection, Florida, acquired from the above.
Christie's, New York, 4 December 1997, lot 48.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Exhibition of Paintings by Edward W. Redfield, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1916, n.p., no. 15. Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Paintings by Edward Redfield, exhibition catalogue, Buffalo, New York, 1917, n.p., no 14.
J.M.W. Fletcher, Edward Willis Redfield, An American Impressionist (1869-1965): The Redfield Letters, vol. 1, Lahaska, Pennsylvania, 2002, p. 193, no. 11, illustrated (as Hillside/Valley Pt. Pleasant).
Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art, Exhibition of Paintings by Edward W. Redfield, March 14-April 9, 1916, no. 15.
Buffalo, New York, Albright Art Gallery, An Exhibition of Paintings by Edward Redfield, January 11-31, 1917, no. 14.
Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester Art Museum, Exhibition of Paintings by Edward W. Redfield, March 4-April 1, 1917, no. 12.

Lot Essay

In his most successful Impressionist works such as Hillside and Valley, Point Pleasant, Edward Willis Redfield portrays the beauty of the Pennsylvania landscape with bold brushwork and a skillful, subtle treatment of light and color that are the hallmarks of his celebrated style.

Redfield's Impressionist canvases rank among the best produced by a group of Pennsylvania artists, popularly called the New Hope School. Like many of his contemporaries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Redfield studied extensively at some of the finest art schools in the world. After his training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Anschutz, Redfield went to Paris to receive further training at the Académie Julian in the late 1880s or early 90s. Accompanied by Robert Henri, an old friend from his days at the Pennsylvania Academy, Redfield traveled from Paris to the French countryside and the forest of Fountainbleu where he began painting en plein air in the cold of winter.

The plein air tradition pioneered by the French Impressionists was adopted by Redfield in his renderings of the rich and varied landscapes of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. "His paintings were done in the field and straight onto the canvas, and with great rapidity and force." (J.M.W. Fletcher, Edward Willis Redfield 1869-1965: An American Impressionist, His Paintings and the Man Behind the Palette, Lahaska, Pennsylvania, 1996, p. 1). As Redfield himself said: "What I wanted to do was go outdoors and capture the look of a scene, whether it was a brook or a bridge, as it looked on a certain day." (as quoted in T. Folk, Edward Redfield, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1987, p. 35)
This bright, Impressionist palette and spontaneity of paint surface that Redfield developed abroad is clearly evident in Hillside and Valley, Point Pleasant. Thick strokes of paint have been quickly yet adeptly applied to the canvas. Viscous dashes of verdant green grass and trees and white buds enliven the composition with the arrival of spring. Contrasting horizontal and vertical touches of paint emphasize the vitality of the scene and reinforce his main subject, the renewal of seasons.

Underscoring this essence of a spontaneous landscape is a thoughtfully rendered composition. Redfield introduces the presence of strong vertical lines with both bare and budding trees running across the width of the scene, which result in pushing the vertical expanse of the canvas. The extension of the vertical space created by the trees, contrasted with the diagonal and horizontal lines and the single figure as a low focal point, culminates in an expansive valley scene that is a hallmark of Redfield's most powerful imagery.

Throughout his career, Redfield loved to paint nature at the heart of each season. Once he started painting spring scenes, Redfield's most desirable were energetic works, brightly sunlit, with abundant budding trees and flowers such as Hillside and Valley, Point Pleasant. The work captures the freshness and vitality of springtime in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, an area Redfield sourced and studied for subject matter for sixty-five years.

This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Edward Redfield's works being compiled by Dr. Thomas Folk.

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