DescriptionGUY WIGGINS (American 1883 - 1962)
New York Public Library
Oil on canvas
25 x 30in.
Guy Wiggins, son of the landscape painter Carlton Wiggins, is mostly known for his New York snow scenes and his Connecticut landscapes, which each roughly comprise half of his oeuvre. The New York City snow scenes were often painted from the windows of offices in Manhattan. This large scale painting of the New York Public Library, a favorite subject of Guy Wiggins, displays the dramatic architecture of New York City with rich impasto and color during a driving snow storm.
In an interview published in the Detroit News in 1924 he talked about his New York snow scenes. "One cold, blustering, snowy day (1912) I was in my New York studio trying to paint a summer landscape. Things wouldn't go right, and I sat idly looking out of a window at nothing. Suddenly I saw what was before me, an elevated railroad track, with a train dashing madly through the whirling blizzard-like snow that made hazy and indistinct the row of buildings on the far side of the street ('Metropolitan Tower, 1912' Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY). Well, when I gave an exhibition a short time afterward...the winter canvases were sold before anything else. In a week, so to say, I was established as a painter of city winter scenes, and I found it profitable. Then suddenly I felt revulsion against them and I stopped. Everyone said I was a fool and was shutting the door upon opportunity, maybe fame. Just the same I couldn't go on with winter stuff and that was all there was to it."
Although he spoke of the New York snow scenes as past history, he often enough felt the urge to "brush up a little snow" in order to refill his bank account. He may have exaggerated his feeling in the interview because he was also known to have subsequently said that New York during a snowfall was his favorite subject to paint.
As in the painting by Walter Launt Palmer in this same auction, Guy Wiggins was fascinated by the color potential of white snow. In her American Art Review article of December 1977, Adrienne L. Walt said "his resolution was to constantly emphasize color, elevating it above all else and achieving luminosity through it."
Estimate: $50,000 - $70,000.
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