DescriptionBEN FOSTER (American, 1852-1926)
In the Pines
Oil on canvas
30-5/8 x 25-1/2 inches (77.8 x 64.8 cm)
Signed lower left: Ben Foster
THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST
Sotheby's Arcade, New York, April 5, 1995, lot 111.
This lot retains its original frame.
As a collector Graham Williford loved to pursue work by artists who shared strong familial and aesthetic ties, so that the paintings he acquired formed a kind of visual network of these relationships and influences. For example, Williford bought this beautiful woodland landscape by Ben Foster in 1995, the same year he purchased a springtime Hillside Landscape by Charles Foster, Ben's elder brother (also in the present auction). In addition, Williford owned The Grey Dunes, Belgium (also in the present auction), a work by Ben Foster's New York studio-mate and French traveling companion of 1886, Charles Warren Eaton.
Ben Foster was born in North Anson, Maine, and for financial reasons was unable to dedicate himself to an artistic career in New York until he was 30. At that point he studied at the Art Students League and and also privately with Abbot Thayer, before spending 1886-7 in Paris training with Aime Morot, Luc Oliver Merson and Harry Thompson, exhibiting at the French Salon, and exploring the French countryside including Barbizon where he produced pastoral paintings. The Barbizon experience had a lasting impact on his art, and when he returned to the United States he lived both in Manhattan and in Cornwall Hollow, Connecticut where he has a country house and painted most of his landscapes. His style was predominantly Tonalist with subdued colors and limited tonal values which explored almost exclusively the colors of autumn. As one writer observed, he sought out "intimate corners of his environment...and liked to depict contemplative times of day, such as dawn or dusk, during intermediary times of year." His works are represented in the permanent collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Musée d'Orsay, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art in Washington, Smithsonian Institution, and the Toledo Museum of Art.
Original canvas. Paint film in fully stable condition. Virtually no evidence of any restoration under UV examination apart from two small dots on the largest and closest tree trunk near the foot of the tree. Framed Dimensions 42 X 37.25 Inches
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