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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Special Offering- A rare find! "Winter, Travelers in a Pine Forest." Harvey, George (1800-1878)

Oil on canvas, circa 1840
Upper Canada or Maine (Borders Contested) 
Signed, lower right G. HARVEY; inscribed on top stretcher left: G HARVEY, and On top stretcher right G Harvey/Winter No 4
Canvas size: 25"x19 1/4"; framed size: 33"x27"

Havey's Life:
  • George Harvey, (b. 1800) came to the United States of America in his youth and became the first American to paint flowers and fruit still life images as early as the 1820s.
  • Growing up, he spent time in Canada, Ohio, and New York State, and traveled between England and the US many times. 
  • His works date back to the 1820s and can be found at cultural institutions including the New York Historical Society. 
  • As one of the earliest professional watercolor painters in America, he was first established as a miniature painter, of which he created 400 works, stopping in 1834. He is known to use a technique called stippling in his watercolor works. 
  • While he was a watercolorist throughout his life, he is known to have completed a variety of oil paintings as well, including the above referenced piece.
  • His works were displayed at the Royal Academy in 1828.
  • In 1834, he purchased land on the Hudson River- now Hastings- and built a home in the Elizabethan Style. Washington Irving became a long time neighbor and friend soon after. 
  • One of his great accomplishments was a set of 40 watercolors showing the seasons and the time of day in the US--this was meant to signify the progress of American Civilization. 
    • They were aquatinted and made as prints-- offered as 8 groups of 5--but only the first set succeeded completely with William Bennett as Aquatinter. 
    • The Prints were accompanied by text from William Irving, Washington Allston, Thomas Scully, and Samuel FB Morse
  • Harvey had a studio in the old NYU building and was a proud member of the NY Art community. 
  • At times, his Aquatints were offered Apollo Association & the American Art Union (1844) 
  • In 1846, Harvey went to England where he often lectured on watercolors (including his own), and developed and institute where he gave slide presentations. 
  • Settled down later in life and passed away in 1878 (age 78)
Harvey's Legacy: 

  • Known oil paintings of this set (Seasons) include: 
    • Spring: Located at Brooklyn Museum of Art
    • Autumn: Owned Privately (Christine Hubert, former UNC Chapel Hill Curator)
    • Winter: **Owned by Arader Galleries in New York City**
      • Location depicted by the painting is Disputed- during the late 1830s and early 1840s, the boundaries between Maine and Canada were hotly contested.   
      • Britain claimed northern half of the state of Maine – Americans wanted it because of logging; British wanted it because it provided route to maritime provinces. 
      • In 1842, British appointed Lord Ashburton who helped define the border (Ashburton treaty) and now most of the contested area is Maine.
      • Biggest territorial dispute of the time.
    • Summer: Location Unknown 
  • These oil paintings were once auctioned by the Art Union- and 3 were eventually lent to the Boston Atheneum (Spring, Autumn, and Summer) 
  • These oils were once copied by Samuel Gerry
    • The Gerry copy of "Winter" is in a Museum in Canada.
  • The prints (referenced above) were fashioned after these oil paintings, NOT the watercolors. 
Offered at $250,000.


 An Essay on this Painting by Professor William H. Gerdts: 








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