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Cornelius David Krieghoff (1815-1872), or Martin Somerville (fl.1839-1856)
KRIEGHOFF AND HIS FOLLOWERS Lots 305-321
Cornelius David Krieghoff (1815-1872), or Martin Somerville (fl.1839-1856)

A Moccasin seller outside the artist’s studio (c.1849) [Marie of Montreal]

Details
Cornelius David Krieghoff (1815-1872), or Martin Somerville (fl.1839-1856)
A Moccasin seller outside the artist’s studio (c.1849) [Marie of Montreal]
oil on canvas laid down on board
13 ¼ x 9 3/8in. (33.6 x 23.8cm.)
Literature
J. Russell Harper, Krieghoff, Toronto, 1979, p.x, illustrated in colour fig.3 (‘A Red Indian Woman outside the Artist’s studio. late 1840s’).
D. Reid, Krieghoff, Images of Canada, Toronto, 1999, p.59, illustrated fig.5 (‘A red Indian woman outside the artist’s studio, c.1849’): ‘All [Krieghoff’s] Native subjects seem to be from the period after the January 1847 exhibition, and none may date from before 1848. Natives were part of the life of Montreal, particularly Mohawks from the Caughnawaga (Kahnawake) Reserve on the south shore of the St Lawrence at Lachine, about eleven kilometres upriver from the city. Women from Caughnawaga brought basketry, beadwork, and other traditional fine women’s work into Montreal to sell, and a painting of the period that has been attributed to Krieghoff, but may be by Somerville, shows such a vendor offering a pouch and highly decorated moccasins for sale in front of the building in which both artists had their studios.’

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Lot Essay

‘[Krieghoff] rented a studio at 26 St James Street, just along from Dolly’s [the bar] and the Bank of Montreal. In the same building was the studio of his friend, Martin Somerville, that of a daguerrotypist, and the office of a dentist, Dr W.H. Elliot. By that time Somerville had been giving private lessons in his studio for over a year; he also taught freehand and perspective drawing classes in the school operated by the Misses Plimsoll on Bonaventure Street. Possibly at Somerville’s suggestion, Krieghoff was engaged to teach oil and watercolour painting at the same school from about 1847 to 1849. … In Krieghoff’s broad range of subject matter one of his most successful themes was the native people. He began to paint Indians shortly after his return to the Montreal region, producing large canvases for the wealthy and tiny ones for those with modest incomes. Of his known paintings approximately 450 or one third portray natives. Some document the solitary moccasin or basket sellers who wandered the streets of Montreal and Quebec City in all seasons; others are of lonely hunters, gun on shoulder, plodding over snowy plains … In one painting (fig.3) an Indian girl, popularly known as Marie of Montreal, stands clutching beaded moccasins and a purse, like a ‘cigar-store Indian’ trade sign, in the doorway leading to Krieghoff’s studio.’ (J. Russell Harper, Krieghoff, Toronto, pp.25 and 44)

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