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Autumn on the Delaware

Autumn on the Delaware
signed 'W. Whittredge' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 ¼ x 28 ¼ in. (46.4 x 71.8 cm.)
Painted circa 1875.
Private collection, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York.
The Westervelt Company, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, acquired from the above, 1990.
Christie’s, New York, 18 May 2011, lot 32, sold by the above.
Driscoll Babcock Galleries, New York, acquired from the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Waco, Texas, Sixth Annual Brazos Forum, America Comes of Age: Emerging Arts and Culture, August 17-October 4, 1990.
Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Impressions of America: The Warner Collection of Gulf States Paper Corporation, June 18-July 28, 1991.
Memphis, Tennessee, The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Impressions of America, November 15, 1992-January 24, 1993.
Winona, Minnesota, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, circa 2011-22, on extended loan.

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Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

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Lot Essay

Worthington Whittredge's masterfully refined and exquisite renditions of nineteenth century American landscapes are exceptionally articulate visions of nature. These compositions, complemented by the artist's use of light to convey emotion and romanticism, are among the best conceived of the nineteenth century. "His paintings of the primitive woods of the Catskills, the vast, seemingly endless stretches of the western plains and the coast of Newport are among the finest productions of any of the Hudson River School." (C.A. Cibulka, Quiet Places: The American Landscape of Worthington Whittredge, exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1982, p. 13)

Upon Whittredge's return to New York City in August 1859 after studying in Europe, he took a space at the Tenth Street Studio building along with artists Frederic Church, John Casilear and Jervis McEntee. Whittredge formed a close relationship with these artists as well as with Asher B. Durand and Sanford Robinson Gifford who were the two greatest influences on him and became lifelong friends. Whittredge preferred quiet scenes, such as the forest in Autumn on the Delaware, to the majestic vistas of his contemporaries. He wrote in his autobiography, "There is no denying the fact that the early landscape painters of America were too strongly affected by the prevailing idea that we had the greatest country in the world for scenery. Everybody talked of our wonderful mountains, rivers, lakes and forests, and the artists thought the only way to get along was to paint scenery. This led to much wandering of our artists. Simplicity was not in demand. It must be some display on a big canvas to suit the taste of the times. Great railroads were opened through the most magnificent scenery the world ever saw, and the brush of the landscape painter was needed immediately. Bierstadt and Church answered the need. For more homely scenery, this need was answered by a group of artists known as the Hudson River School—all of whom I knew and one of whom I was." (as quoted in Quiet Places: The American Landscape of Worthington Whittredge, p. 21)

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