DescriptionEDWARD BRIGHT BRUCE (American, 1879-1943)
Oil on canvas
21-1/2 x 39-1/2 inches (54.6 x 100.3 cm)
Signed lower right: Edward Bruce
THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST
Graham Galleries, New York (label on verso of frame);
Probably acquired in Europe (customs label on reverse of canvas plus importer label of Robinot Freres on reverse of frame).
Edward Bruce was a successful lawyer and businessman before pursuing a career in art. Born in Dover Plains, New York, he began painting landscapes at age 14 but did not pursue that talent until after he had gotten a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1904, practiced law in New York and Manila, and then went into foreign trade in the Far East. He also became president of the Pacific Development Corporation of California. In his 30s he went to Italy for six years of art study with the American painter Maurice Sterne, and upon his return to the United States in 1929, he was nationally recognized for his paintings.
In 1929, he and his wife settled in California, living in Carmel, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. He was active there until 1933 when he returned to the East to became an organizer in Washington DC of the Public Works of Art Project under the New Deal. The following year he was tapped to direct a longer-lived mural program administered by the Treasury Department. Bruce was also a collector of Chinese paintings and sculpture, and his collection forms a prestigious part of the Fogg Art Museum. The present work depicts Mt. Morello outside Florence, which he probably painted toward the end of his study with Sterne in Italy, around 1929.
Relined canvas. Paint film in very good stable condition. Only two small spots on inpaint in ground, and a number of tiny scattered spots in the sky, none visible except under UV examination. Framed Dimensions 30 X 47 Inches
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