Victor William Higgins (1884-1949)
Victor William Higgins (1884-1949)
Victor William Higgins (1884-1949)
Victor William Higgins (1884-1949)
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Property of a Prestigious Midwest Private Collection

Moorland Gorse and Bracken

Moorland Gorse and Bracken
signed 'Victor Higgins—' (lower right)
oil on canvas
42 1⁄4 x 47 in. (107.3 x 119.4 cm.)
Painted circa 1911-12.
Municipal Art League of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1915.
Union League Club Civic and Arts Foundation, Chicago, Illinois.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1976.
Art Institute of Chicago, Annual Report, vol. 37, Chicago, Illinois, 1915, p. 68.
M.Q. Burnet, Art and Artists of Indiana, New York, 1921, p. 376.
D. Porter, Victor Higgins: An American Master, Layton, Utah, 1991, pp. 25, 27, 29, 47-48, no. 10, illustrated.
Chicago, Illinois, Art Institute of Chicago, Nineteenth Annual Exhibition of Works by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity, March 2-31, 1915, no. 130.
Notre Dame, Indiana, University of Notre Dame, University Art Gallery; Indianapolis, Indiana, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Victor Higgins: An Indiana Born Artist Working in Taos, New Mexico, October 26, 1975-March 30, 1976, p. 83, no. 3.
ENG KK testing SRN May 10-May-21

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

Before he became known for his paintings of the American Southwest, Victor Higgins left for Europe in 1911 to study in England, Germany, and Paris. The present example was inspired by his time in St. Ives, Cornwall, where the expansive English moorlands provided picturesque subject matter ideal for a young artist practicing landscape painting, as well as local folklore that would inform his reverence for themes of old even in his later works. Higgins was entranced with St. Ives, writing, "Yet this desire for the new in some things goes hand in hand with a reverence for the old. Guy Thorene, student of folklore, writer of moorland fiction and the successful wooer of a Cornish sweetheart, said, earnestly and low that even today many a goat is dragged to the moorland and sacrificed by the light of a mid-night fire, on some secluded cramlech - the altar-stone of the Druids." (A.H.M., "St. Ives, Seaport and Borough of West Cornwall, Mr. Higgins' Impressions," Inland Stationer, 1915)

In the present work, Higgins infuses a sense of wonder and romance in the lush, endless fields and dramatic sky, only hinting at the presence of human life with the small wooden fence off to the left. Upon its exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1915, Moorland Gorse and Bracken received high praise and was awarded the Municipal Purchase Prize.

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