Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    WILLIAM HENRY HOWE (American, 1846-1929)
    Cows in a Grassy Field, 1890
    Oil on canvas
    16 x 22 inches (40.6 x 55.9 cm)
    Signed and dated lower left: William H. Howe / Paris 90


    unidentified sale, May 27, 1987, lot 20 (round sticker verso central stretcher bar).

    Born in Ravenna, OH, William Henry Howe studied for two years at the Royal Academy in D├╝sseldorf before settling in Paris to train as an animal painter beginning in 1881. Following his Parisian studies under Felix de Vuillefroy and Otto de Thoren, an Austrian painter of cattle whose work was highly influential on his early style, Howe devoted himself to painting cattle for the rest of his life. According to his biographer at the famed Salmagundi Club in New York, "Howe's cows" "were honest transcripts from nature, faithfully cooked up from many studies and sketches from objective observations, however he knew his cattle so well that France decorated him with the [Cross of the] Legion of Honor" in 1898, and was elected an academician of the National Academy of Design in 1897.

    Howe's exhibition history and prize list is long and impressive, dating from the early 1880s to about 1920. During his twelve years in Europe, during which period he painted the present work, he made many sketching trips to Normandy and Holland and exhibited at the Paris Salons from 1883 to 1893. Upon his return to America in 1893, he set up a studio in New York City, but soon moved to Bronxville, New York, to help found a small artists' colony there. Howe won gold medals at the Universal Exposition of 1889 in Paris, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1890, the Crystal Palace Exposition of 1890, and a silver medal in Buffalo in 1901. After 1902 he spent his summers in Old Lyme, CT. Howe was part of the art colony centered Florence Griswold's boardinghouse in Old Lyme begun by painter Henry Ward Ranger (also represented in the present auction). There Howe played the role of the benign "Uncle," as the younger artists called him. As a friend noted: "In appearance, he dressed like a minister down to the black shoes which he wore even in the field, but there was always a five cent cigar underway."

    A wonderful anecdote dated 1945 preserved in the Salmagundi Club papers notes: "Howe painted his cows, bulls and oxen in their natural habitat and after some close calls with these unwilling models, he always saw to it that his easel was behind a stone fence."

    Condition Report*: Original unlined canvas. Paint film in very good stable condition. Framed Dimensions 29 X 35 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,332

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $50,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $50,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on May 15, 2012 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    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 17 days left to consign to the 2021 October 19 Prints & Multiples Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thank you for all that you did to make the auction sale of my silver and art glass consignment a tremendous success.
    H. W. ,
    Memphis, TN
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search