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Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)
Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)

Ladies on a Hill

Details
Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)
Curran, Charles Courtney
Ladies on a Hill
signed and dated 'Charles C. Curran/1914' (lower right)
oil on canvas
22 x 18 in. (55.9 x 45.7 cm.)
Provenance
Christie's, New York, December 4, 1996, lot 136.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.

Lot Essay

Charles Courtney Curran's depiction of women among mountain flowers is a classic American Impressionist interpretation of the rapidly changing world of the early twentieth century. Like many of his contemporaries, Curran often chose the most picturesque scenes to render in his work. "As change became more rampant and the ugliness of urban life became more evident, the American Impressionists sought solace in nostalgic landscape views celebrating a simpler way of life long since past. Although these landscapes often depict recognizable sites, their purpose was as much evocation as topographical accuracy; they express the nostalgic attitudes and emotions of their creators and were intended to arouse analogous responses in others. These painters chose subjects that offered at least a visual relief from the pressing actualities of modern life. 'What nostalgia require[s] is a sense of estrangement,' explained geographer David Lowenthal, 'the object of the quest must be anachronistic. Like the Renaissance devotion to the classical world, the remoteness of the past is for us a part of its charm.' The anachronistic features represented in American Impressionist landscapes--farms that no longer harvested crops, canals whose barge traffic had been rendered obsolete by speedier trains, and harbors whose working fishing vessels had been replaced by recreational boats--made them more appealing to turn-of-the-century viewers." (H.B. Weinberg, D. Bolger and D.P. Curry, American Impressionism and Realism, New York, 1994, p. 67)
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