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    Description

    THE PROPERTY OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY

    JOHN CONSTABLE (British, 1776-1837)
    Suffolk Landscape with Cattle, Trees and a Windswept Sky, circa 1811-1812
    Oil on canvas
    8 x 9-3/4 inches (20.3 x 24.8 cm)

    PROVENANCE:
    Purchased in England by the current owner's grandfather, a Canadian-born attorney, in the early 20th century;
    By descent to the current owner.

    Constable expert, Charles Rhyne, has examined this oil sketch in the original and notes that it is entirely by the hand of John Constable. He dates the painting to 1811-1812.

    By this period, the artist began to use much more vigorous and expressive brushwork than he had in his earlier plein-air sketches. These were works Constable had no intention of submitting for exhibition at the Royal Academy, because they were private--basic and immediate emotional responses in paint to the natural world around him. If they served a purpose, it was the practical function of instructing his eye and providing a record of direct observation he could potential draw upon later for a landscape painted in the studio.

    As John Gage perceptively noted, Constable's oil sketches from this phase "show a remarkable range of handling as he adapted his color and touch to the particularities of the scene before him, treating each motif in its own way." Indeed, Constable succeeds in creating handling, as he does in this richly-featured landscape, in a way that amounts to no handling at all. In fact, Constable once told C. R. Leslie that "I see no handling in nature," meaning that Nature has no fixed appearance that would in turn require a particular stylistic response. In sketches such as this one, produced long before the Impressionists, Constable sought to capture the fleeting moods and effects in Nature as rapidly as possible before the moment had passed.


    Condition Report*: The canvas is lined. There is minor frame abrasion around extreme edges. There is a layer of surface dirt and grime; the painting would benefit from a light cleaning. There appears to be a 1/4" circular area of restoration in the trunk of the tallest tree, just to the right of the center of the composition. There are tiny scattered tiny spots throughout the trees that fluoresce under ultraviolet light, but they appear to be most likely original pigment.
    *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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    17th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,560

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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