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    Description

    FRANK FOWLER (American, 1852-1910)
    Two Friends
    Oil on canvas
    15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)
    Signed center left: Frank Fowler
    Titled on typed and handwritten artist's labels verso

    THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST

    PROVENANCE:
    Christie's, New York, September 30, 1988, lot 137.

    Frank Fowler was a Brooklyn-born figure and portrait painter who trained for seven years in Paris during the 1870s under portraitist Carolus-Duran, who had also taught John Singer Sargent, and at the École des Beaux-Arts. Like so many of Duran's students, Fowler worked on the ceiling fresco, Apotheosis of Marie de Medici in the Luxembourg Palace. Upon his return to New York in 1879 he became a regular exhibitor at the annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design for the remainder of his career, and also devoted himself to mural painting for a time. His most important work was the decoration of ceiling panels for the ballroom at the Waldorf Hotel, razed to make room for the Empire State Building. In the late 1890s, he resided in a home on at #16 The Enclosure, an artists' colony in Nutley, New Jersey. He built a large studio on the back of that house where he painted. The same studio was later owned by Michael Lenson, a well-known New Jersey painter who was director of the mural division of the New Jersey WPA in the 1930s. Earlier, the same home was owned by Frederic Dana Marsh, the illustrator, who raised his painter-son Reginald Marsh there.

    Frank Fowler wrote about art topics for the magazines and also authored several how-to textbooks: Oil Painting (1885), Portrait and Figure Painting (1901) and Drawing In Charcoal And Crayon (1899). In his text on Portrait painting of 1901 (Chapter II. How to Paint a Head, pp. 8-9), Fowler explained how he achieved some of the lively effects that characterize Two Friends: "Whatever valuable fact reveals itself upon further scrutiny must be made use of in heightening the impression: as, for instance, the high light on the forehead, the touches of light that model the fullness above the eyebrows, the light on the bridge and at the tip of the nose, the touches of light at the corners of the mouth, the accent of dark on the cheek bone and on the chin, as well as a careful study of the half tint which models the jaw and detaches it from the throat-all these are necessary. Look also for the play of light on the hair, the variety of color it presents, some notes being brown and others of a grayish or bluish cast. Above all do not neglect the reflected light on the shadowed side of the forehead, for this has much to do with the construction of the head."




    Condition Report*: Wax-lined canvas; UV exam discloses that the painting had been selectively cleaned in the most salient areas--the woman's face, her hands, and aspects of her clothing. Older varnish covers the rest of the picture. On the cleaned face there appear to be scattered flecks of crack-fill inpainting in figure's face, and also in the clothing and in negative space around figure. A spot of inpainting occurs over 'nk F' in artist's signature, and scattered spots in chair, dog, figure's nose, left cheek and dress, and negative space in lower right quadrant. In places the restoration is on top of the old varnish and in others it is on cleaned sections. Framed Dimensions 24.5 X 21.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,604

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