DescriptionALEXANDER WARSHAWSKY (American, 1887-1945)
Autumn Afternoon in Brittany, 1911
Oil on artists' board
10-1/4 x 13-1/2 inches (26.0 x 34.3 cm)
Signed indistinctly and dated lower right: Alexander Warshawsky 1911
Titled and signed in ink on reverse: "Autumn Afternoon" / Alexander Warshawsky
THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST
This is one of the finest post-impressionist landscapes by Alexander Warshawsky to have appeared on the art market in the past 25 years. Exactly where Graham Williford acquired it is unknown.
Alexander "Xander" Warshawsky and his brother Abel (known as "Buck") were both painters born in Cleveland, Ohio to Ezekiel and Ida Warshawsky, Jewish immigrants from Poland who came to Cleveland from Sharon, PA. Both brothers attended the Cleveland School of Art and the National Academy of Design in New York, before going to Europe and spending a good portion of their lives living and working in Paris and Brittany. Abel went to France first, in 1908, with the support of Clevelander Louis Rorimer, and was the first to adopt an impressionistic style. Alexander followed a few years later in 1911. He painted Breton peasants and landscapes, usually using flat surfaces and clear outlines, smoothly brushed surfaces, and highly keyed colors. Both brothers were pacifists, serving together behind the French lines in World War I, decorating soldiers' huts with murals and organizing sports events. In recognition for this work, the French government asked them to exhibit in the Luxembourg Gallery. They returned at least once a year to Cleveland. Several times they exhibited jointly.
Alex organized an exhibition in Cleveland of post-impressionism in 1914, a controversial show, but giving Cleveland the opportunity to view modern art. Alex lived in Paris over a 25-year period, exhibiting his paintings during his frequent journeys to the U.S. He moved to Los Angeles in 1934, and painted the California landscape for the remainder of his life. He struggled with alcoholism, and the disease unfortunately resulted in a decline in quality in his later paintings.
This work dates from 1911, a watershed year in the artist's development. Under the influence of his brother, Alex threw off the mantle of the Pennsylvania Academy's darker palette and embraced the post impressionistic technique of tiny flickering brushstrokes, a bright palette, and a complete banishment of black. The result is one of brisk luminosity. Here the pollarded trees of the French countryside shimmer in the warm light of an autumn afternoon.
Painting in very good original condition. No apparent conservation or flaws. Framed Dimensions 16.5 X 19.5 Inches
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