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    Description

    Joseph Rusling Meeker (American 1827-1887)
    Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, 1880
    Oil on canvas
    23 x 30 inches (58.4 x 76.2 cm)
    Signed with the artist's monogram, dated, and titled on the reverse: Lake Pontchartrain La. / JRM 1880


    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, Concord, Massachusetts;
    Northeast Estate Broker, Rhode Island Consignment Company;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    Joseph Meeker's enchantment with the sultry environs of Louisiana began with his appointment as a U.S. Navy paymaster on a Union gunboat touring the Mississippi River during the Civil War. A student of Hudson River School master Asher B. Durand and a painter of American scenes from the New England coast to the Wyoming territories, Meeker showed his affinity for the verdant ground and dramatic skies of the Mississippi River Delta. Meeker's Louisiana canvases usually depict an Edenic South with grand and dramatic atmospheric effects, unsullied by man's presence. As a witness to the desperation and violence of the Civil War, Meeker possibly was compelled to choose transcendent nature over human action for most of his Southern landscapes.

    Recently discovered in a Concord, Massachusetts, estate, this 1880 canvas is inscribed by the artist, "Lake Pontchartrain, La," above his distinctive monogram signature. Lake Pontchartrain's large format and specified locale suggest that it was possibly executed as an exhibition entry, perhaps for the New Orleans World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exhibition of 1884. New Orleans viewers would have found the scene instantly familiar, as the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain was not only a destination for day trips from the city, but also a refuge from Yellow Fever outbreaks in the urban center.

    The Lake Pontchartrain encampment scene offered here is a rare and important example within Meeker's extensive body of work. While the composition is dominated by a roiling storm cloud over a cypress grove on the left, Meeker inserts a genre scene with two fishermen on a pirogue near a beach with two compatriots tending a campfire and cleaning table. Featuring many aspects of a timeless Romantic landscape, Lake Pontchartrain also shows a specific moment in time with men in contemporary hats and trousers catching their dinner. Meeker juxtaposes everyday people performing simple tasks with the sublimity of the natural world.





    Condition Report*: Strip-lined canvas with original tack edge removed; now on new stretcher; Evidence of two campaigns of restoration; scattered spots of inpaint, most notably in sky visible under UV light. Professionally restored.   Framed Dimensions 30.75 X 37.75 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, 2018
    4th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,694

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