Ernest Lawson (1873-1939)

Segovia, Spain

Ernest Lawson (1873-1939)
Segovia, Spain
signed 'E Lawson' lower left
oil on canvas
20 x 24½in. (50.8 x 62.2cm.)
Dr. and Mrs. T. E. Hanley
ACA Galleries, New York
Bernard Danenberg Galleries, Inc., New York
H. and S. Berry-Hill, Ernest Lawson, American Impressionisst, Leigh-on-Sea, England, 1968, no. 48, illus.
Hanley Gallery of Modern Art, no. 72

Lot Essay

After several successful exhibitions in 1915, Ernest Lawson set off for Europe with his wife and family in the summer of 1916. Landing first in North Africa, they crossed over to Alicente, Spain and then travelled on to Barcelona, Madrid and Segovia. Lawson rented a house with a garden near the castle in Segovia that looked out onto the cathedral and beyond. Lawson's daughter remembered their stay with great pleasure, "Father did a good many paintings in and around Segovia and Toledo and we made frequent trips by donkey into the nearby countryside. We saw many colorful religious processions at fiesta time. Father was particularly fond of the market-place under the Roman aqueduct and he loved the primitive villages and landscape everywhere."
Lawson was fascinated with the intense, scorching sun that illuminated the Spanish landscape. This stood in sharp contrast to the softer, more atmospheric light of Manhattan that the artist painted at home. Lawson's response to the brilliant Spanish light can be seen in Segovia, Spain, a work characterized by intense, full color. Lawson has built up layers of paint to create a rich, textured surface, which is highlighted with tints of green, beige, yellow and red.

The interplay of colors that can be seen in Segovia, Spain was a primary concern for Lawson. In an interview later in life Lawson said, "Color affects me like music affects some persons. . . emotionally . . . I like to play with colors . . . like a composer playing with counterpoint in music. It's sort of a rhythmic proposition. You try one color scheme in a sort of contrapuntal fashion, and you get one effect. And you try something else, and you get another effect. We don't actually copy nature in art. Nature merely suggests something to us to which we add our own ideas. Impressions in nature are merely jumping off points for artistic creations."