DescriptionWILLIAM HENRY KEMBLE YARROW (American, 1891-1941)
Synchromist Flowers, circa 1917-20
Oil on canvas
24-1/8 x 18-1/4 inches (61.3 x 46.4 cm)
Signed lower right: Yarrow
PROPERTY FROM THE KING COLLECTION, TEXAS
Estate of the above;
Sale: Stamford Auction, Bridgeport, Connecticut, June 26, 2005, lot 193;
Meredith Ward Fine Arts, New York;
Acquired by the present owner from the above, March 2006.
(Possibly) Stanton Macdonald Wright's "Synchromist Painters," Los Angeles, August 1920;
(Possibly) Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings Showing the Later Tendencies in Art," 1921 (as Flowers, no. 21);
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, "Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection," September 8, 2013-January 5, 2014, no. 67.
"Discovering the American Modern 1907-1936: The King Collection," American Art Review, December 2013, pp. 80-87, 127, illustrated;
P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 167-68, no. 67, illustrated.
William Henry Kimble Yarrow's Synchromist Flowers is one of only three known Synchromist paintings executed by the artist. It successfully demonstrates one of the core elements of Synchromism: using opposing rhythmic curves to give an image harmony and balance. The colors and shapes of his flowers and arced background are laid down in patches with blurred transitions, empty white spaces and the use of geometry to offset the organic shapes. Indeed, Synchromist Flowers demonstrates both Yarrow's power as a colorist and his intimate knowledge of the Synchromist style. According to Dr. Patrick S. Cable, this powerful work "exemplifies most fully within the King Collection the Synchromist style developed in Paris by...Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, though its creator was a tangential follower of the movement about whom little is known" (P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, p. 167).
Yarrow was born in Glenside, Pennsylvania, into a prominent Philadelphia family. Although the details of his life are not well documented, it is known that he began painting at age seventeen, when he enrolled as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1909 and 1910, alongside fellow students John Storrs and Charles Demuth. Yarrow's teachers during this period were Thomas Anschutz, Hugh Breckenridge and Henry McCarter.
In 1910, Yarrow traveled to Paris to enroll at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi. While in Paris, he came under the influence of Paul Cézanne and, later, of fellow American Stanton Macdonald-Wright. He also became a close friends of Thomas Hart Benton, who shared Yarrow's attraction to Synchromism.
Yarrow's artistic talents were recognized upon his return to America when, in 1915, he received the silver medal for an Impressionist nude at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. A year later, he received the gold medal at the Art Club of Philadelphia for his full-length painting Nude.
Despite Yarrow's exposure to Modernism and his friendships with Macdonald-Wright and Benton, he did not venture into Modernist painting until the second half of the 1910s, when he began exhibiting at the Society of Independent Artists in New York. Over the next several years, he exhibited and wrote regularly on the state of modern art in America.
Yarrow's flurry of promoting Modernism culminated in April of 1921 in Philadelphia when he chaired a committee with Benton, Paul Burlin, Arthur B. Carles, Bernard Gussow, Joseph Stella and Alfred Stieglitz to organize the "Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings Showing the Later Tendencies in Art." In this exhibition, Yarrow had four entries, with two of them titled Flowers. Synchromist Flowers is likely one of the two floral still lifes included in this monumental show.
Unlined canvas; light stretcher crease along the top edge; minor frame abrasions along the far right top extreme edge; several spots of faint, stable craquelure, mostly visible under raking light; under UV exam, there appear to be several pinpoints of inpainting along the upper right edge and near the lower left corner. This painting is framed using Optium (museum acrylic glazing), which provides clear legibility for examination with both white light and black light. In order to maintain the integrity and airtight sealing of the housing, the painting was not viewed out of the frame for the condition report. Should you wish to have a more extensive report, we recommend firsthand inspection by a professional conservator. For assistance, please contact the department.
*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.
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