DescriptionErnest Leonard Blumenschein (American, 1874-1960)
Sandia Mountains, 1949
Watercolor and gouache on paper
12 x 15-7/8 inches (30.5 x 40.3 cm) (sheet)
Signed and dated lower right: EL Blumenschein '49
PROPERTY FROM A MIDWESTERN INSTITUTION
In an effort to escape the cold winters of Taos, Ernest Blumenschein relocated to Albuquerque in the 1930s. By the 1940s, he had turned to pure landscape painting due to his fascination with and aesthetic interest in the Sandia Mountains, which surrounded his new home. Elizabeth Cunningham notes that "the artist liked the geology but found the ground cover of sagebrush and chamisa even more intriguing. In Spanish, Sandia means 'watermelon', an apt name that describes how, in a certain light, the mountains appear pink" (P. Hassrick and E. Cunningham, In Contemporary Rhythm: The Art of Ernest L. Blumenschein, Norman, Oklahoma, 2009, p. 258).
While Sandia Mountains, 1949 draws distinct parallels in composition, palette, and design to Blumenschein's larger related work in oil, Sandia Mountains, 1942, it differs in its aesthetic approach. Whereas Sandia Mountains, 1942 is highly structured with modeled brushwork that depicts the ruggedness of the hills, the present work appears more fluid, with dynamic movement dominating its composition. In keeping with Blumenschein's fascination with design elements, the weave of the sagebrush in the foreground is echoed in the loose brushwork in the clouds above. These organic lines provide an interesting contrast with the rugged geometric shapes of the mountains, which emphasize the strength and power of the monumental structures that the artist so deeply admired. In the present work, Blumenschein uses color to break up the planes of the composition by setting the fiery foreground of reds and yellows against the cool backdrop of the mountains and sky. With its energetic rhythms, vibrant color, and expressive brushwork, Sandia Mountains, 1949, serves as a testament to the artist's profound affinity for the beauty of the Southwest.
Sheet is hinged to backing board at top corners verso; there appears to be slight undulation to sheet; a small notch loss in lower right corner; faint matburn; a few areas of extremely small craquelure with a couple tiny flecks of loss; framed under glass. Framed Dimensions 17.5 X 21.5 Inches
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