JOHN STEUART CURRY (American, 1897-1946)
    Portrait of Stanley Young, 1932
    Oil on canvas
    Signed, titled, and dated lower right: STANLEY YOUNG / JOHN STEUART CURRY / 1932
    32 x 30-1/4 inches (81.3 x 76.8 cm)

    Walker Gallery, New York (label verso).

    L.E. Schmeckebier, John Steuart Curry's Pageant of America, New York, 1943, no. 112, p. 169.

    This lot is accompanied by a copy of the Schmeckebier monograph on John Steuart Curry. Schmeckebier compares the Portrait of Stanley Young to two of Curry's self-portraits of 1927 and 1937:

    "His portrait of the writer Stanley Young before a typewriter at the window of his studio is undoubtedly an adequate representation of the struggling artist, but at the same time it reveals a half humorous, half sympathetic attitude of the painter which takes serious form in his own portrait."

    Schmeckebier illustrates the Portrait of Stanley Young with notes on the painting:

    "A portrait, conceived half humorously yet with deep sincerity, of a young writer who loved to dramatize himself as a great artist. The heavy arm and clenched fist, the hand supporting the head, are well-known gestures that imply such a 'struggle.' The placement of the figure before the studio window with the hazy landscape outside, however, carries many of the same associations noted in the studio Still Life and the First Snow [two of Curry's other paintings]."

    Also accompanied by two letters from the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

    The first is a letter from Stanley Young to John Steuart Curry, dated January 17, 1946. Young inquires, "By the way, what ever happened to that portrait of mine that you did? Was it printed in the biography of your work [Schmeckebier, John Steuart Curry's Pageant of America, New York, 1943]?"

    The second letter contains Curry's response.

    Stanley Young was a playwright, author, and literary critic for the New York Times, circa 1940s-1950s. Two plays written by Young were "Laurette" and "Mr. Pickwick." Additionally, Young, having served on the board of Farrar, Straus Publishing Company in New York for several years, acquired a partnership in the publishing company, and in 1951 the company was renamed Farrar, Straus, Young Publishing Company, Inc.

    John Steuart Curry, a leader in the American Regionalist movement, was born on a farm near Dunavant, Kansas. After receiving a thorough education in art, including attending the Kansas City Art Institute, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Geneva College in Pennsylvania, he moved to New York to study illustration with Harvey Dunn. Finding it difficult to make ends meet as an artist, he moved to Paris, with a patron's support, and spent the next year studying at Schoukhaieff's Russian Academy, where his artistic interest lay with the work of Gustav Courbet and Peter Paul Reubens rather than of the burgeoning expressionist and abstract movements that influenced many of his peers. Upon returning to the States, he embraced the Midwest values of his youth and began incorporating these into his work. His first major Regionalist painting, Baptism in Kansas, garnered him much critical acclaim and recognition from the New York art world. Art historian Matthew Baigell stated, "To Curry, man's actions on the land, his contest with nature for dominance, was the basic American experience. Curry recognized the capacities of both - nature's ability to devastate the land and man's ability to bring great riches from the soil." Within these scenes of man's interactions with nature and much of Curry's other works, there is an underlying religious theme combined with a yearn for nostalgia.

    More Information:

    Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Some areas of overpainting including the forehead above his right eye, below his ear, between the paper and bookend on the lower edge, and places along the lower left and right corners.  Some craquelure in places.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2008
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 908

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 24 days left to consign to the 2018 April 14 The Estate of Zsa Zsa Gabor Decorative Art Signature Auction - Beverly Hills!

    Learn about consigning with us

    It would indeed have been much simpler to work with a local auction house, and we had local options. But we never once regretted going with Heritage.
    Virgene S.,
    Milwaukee, WI
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,098,328