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    Description

    HOWARD RUSSELL BUTLER (American, 1856-1934)
    Church of Santa Anna in Mexico, 1885
    Oil on canvas
    22 x 36 inches (55.9 x 91.4 cm)
    Signed lower right: H.R. Butler
    Inscribed with title on a card and signed by the artist's son preserved verso

    THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST

    PROVENANCE:
    Christie's, New York, Fine American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Sept. 15, 2005, lot 19 (label verso).

    This marvelous Mexican landscape documents an important turning point in the career of Howard Russell Butler, who began life as a lawyer but whose love of the American West led him to switch careers and become a successful landscapist and painter of solar eclipses, as well as the first president and founder of the American Fine Arts Society. Born in New York City, he studied at Princeton and Columbia Universities. In 1877, upon completing his degree from Princeton, his father gave him a graduation gift of a train trip West to California. He and three classmates went on the adventure, which included an excursion to Yosemite where they visited with John Muir. From this time, Butler had an ongoing fascination with the West. In 1882, he graduated from law school at Columbia and practiced in New York City, but was unhappy with that career and started thinking about developing his painting talents professionally. In 1884, he and artist Frederick E. Church went to Mexico where they opened a studio together. There, he produced this remarkable scene of church with a large group of townspeople clustered around a public well nearby. The trip to Mexico cemented his decision to become a professional painter. He subsequently studied at the Art Students League, and also in Paris where he became active in the American artist colony. Focusing primarily on color and light, he painted in the French countryside in a loose, impressionistic style, and one of his painting companions was John Singer Sargent. By 1886, he was receiving honorable mention at the Paris Salon.


    Condition Report*: Original unlined canvas on original stretcher bars. Under UV examination the only noteworthy area of restoration are two circular patches (between 1 ½ - inches round) of inpaint to the left of the left tower in the sky. There is a cluster of tiny spots of inpaint at the upper left corner, probably addressing frame abrasion. In a few areas of the composition (in the shadows) there is strengthening: in the left tower, in the man in front of the well, in the shadow of the low wall on right side. Fine unobtrustive craquelure commensurate with age. Framed Dimensions 28 X 42 Inches
    *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, 2013
    11th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 883

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