DescriptionCHARLES WARREN EATON (American, 1857-1937)
The Gray Dunes, Belgium, circa 1913
Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches (76.2 x 91.4 cm)
Signed lower left: CHAS. WARREN EATON
THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST
Graham Williford's particular fondness for Tonalist paintings led him to this silvery dunescape by Charles Warren Eaton which the artist painted in Knocke, Belgium. Born in Albany, New York, Eaton came of age as a painter during the late 1870s, when a profound shift in American art had begun to take place. Rather than the highly realistic and detailed Hudson River School manner, which had dominated the American art scene for over forty years, American landscape painting in particular was giving way to a much looser, moodier style that younger artists were bringing home from Europe. This new style, which would later come to be known as Tonalism, emphasized low-key colors and tended to depict intimate settings rather than scenes of grandeur. As seen in the present painting, Eaton frequently presented his landscapes at dusk or just before dawn, when contrasts of color and hue are very low.
By the early 1880s Eaton began to earn professional recognition along with his first sales. He exhibited his first two paintings at the National Academy of Design in 1882, and continued to exhibit there regularly for the rest of his career. He was a founding member of the American Watercolor Society. He exhibited at the well-known Macbeth Gallery in New York for over thirty years, in Paris via the famous dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, and at important international expositions. He also served on numerous exhibition juries. For reasons that are unclear but possibly political in nature, Eaton never gained full membership to the National Academy or to the Society for American Artists. Later in life he returned frequently to Europe to paint the landscape around Bruges and Lake Como. A similar but less finished painting of this same dunescape by Eaton dated 1913 sold through Rago Arts and Auction, November 13, 2010, lot 33.
Original unlined canvas. Paint film in very good condition. Under UV examination the varnish appears somewhat patchy. There is very little restoration at all. Framed Dimensions 36 X 42 Inches
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