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    DAVID JOHNSON (American, 1827-1908)

    Near Shelburne, Vermont, 1865
    Oil on canvas
    30 x 26 inches (76.2 x 66.0 cm)
    Initialed and dated lower left: DJ / 1865
    Label verso: The following inscription appears on the back of the original canvas: Scenery at Shelburn, Vt. / David Johnson, 1865

    M. Knoedler and Company, Inc., New York

    J. Baur, The American Art Journal, Autumn 1980, fig. 30.
    G. Owens, Nature Transcribed: The Landscapes and Still Lifes of David Johnson, Hanover, 1988, p. 83.

    As part of the second generation of Hudson River School painters, David Johnson derived lifelong inspiration from the mountains of upstate New York and New England. His exquisite View near Shelburne, Vermont is a true masterwork from the mid-1860s, when he was traveling often between northeastern Vermont and the Androscoggin River region of New Hampshire and Maine. Johnson inscribed the back of this canvas with the notation "Scenery at Shelburn, Vt.," and it is possible that the vista depicts a sliver of the LaPlatte River, which flows into Lake Champlain's Bay of Shelburne, with the Green Mountains -- in actuality, far to the east of Shelburne -- added for dramatic effect. Curiously, View near Shelburne more closely resembles Johnson's contemporaneous paintings of the Androscoggin River, which snakes from New Hampshire into Maine at the foot of the White Mountains. For example, Study near Lancaster, New Hampshire (1867), Androscoggin River (1869), and On the Androscoggin near Shelburne (1870) feature the same river topography and rock formations as View near Shelburne, Vermont: multi-peaked mountains rise steeply from dusty floodplains dotted with trees. Perhaps, then, "Shelburn, Vt." is actually Shelburne, New Hampshire, whose forested glens became a popular site for painters, photographers, and recreationists.

    View near Shelburne is noteworthy among Johnson's paintings for its size, vertical orientation, and intricate composition. Johnson typically painted on a smaller scale, yet even his large canvases emphasize nature's peacefulness and accessibility, rather than its sublime power. Known for his meticulous renderings of rocks and trees, he here applies his naturalist's eye to the forest pocket in the foreground: ancient boulders, mossy floor, lush thicket, and sentinel-like elms secure a comfortable and private haven for an amorous couple. Johnson provides visual interest by dividing the composition along a diagonal line, contrasting the intimate, shadowed forest with an expansive, light-filled mountain view. By including the human element, he invites the viewer into the scene -- into a full communion with nature. In content, View near Shelburne resembles his Young Elms from 1863, featuring another picnicking couple, yet View near Shelburne stands apart in its detailed brushwork and fine gradations of light.

    More information about DAVID JOHNSON, also known as Johnson, David, David Johnson.

    Condition Report*: Excellent condition:  overall craquelure, commensurate with age; areas of in-painting:  2 x 1/2" region, plus 1/8" dot, in sky above trees in upper left quadrant, one small dot in upper right quadrant, scattered pin-point flecks in sky between tree and mountain tops, and line along lower edge of canvas; canvas relined.
    *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
    June, 2009
    10th-11th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,250

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

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