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    Description

    Tom Lovell (American, 1909-1997)
    The Noble Train of Artillery, 1946
    Oil on canvas
    40 x 36-1/2 inches (101.6 x 92.7 cm)
    Signed lower left: Tom / Lovell

    PROPERTY FROM THE DIXON TICONDEROGA COLLECTION

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    Dixon Ticonderoga, commissioned from the above, 1932.

    EXHIBITED:
    Fort Ticonderoga Museum, Fort Ticonderoga, New York, n.d;
    Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, New York, "The Revolutionary War: Founding the New Nation," January 16-March 29, 2000.

    LITERATURE:
    "Famous American Paintings," calendar, U.S. Information Agency, 1960, illustrated;
    E. Newton, The Vermont Story: A History of the People of the Green Mountain State, 1749-1949, Frederick, Maryland, 1949, n.p., illustrated;
    C.V. Lonergan, Ticonderoga-Historic Portage, Ticonderoga, New York, 1959, illustrated as the cover;
    S.H.P. Pell, Fort Ticonderoga, Frederick, Maryland, 1985, n.p., illustrated;
    C.R. Crego, Postcard History Series: Fort Ticonderoga, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2004, p. 56, illustrated;
    J.E. McKenney, The Organizational History of Field Artillery, 1775-2003, Washington, D.C., 2007, p. 7, illustrated;
    D.W. Beck, The War Before Independence, New Haven, Connecticut, 2016, n.p., illustrated.


    When the Dixon Ticonderoga Company was searching for an illustrator to depict The Noble Train of Artillery, they could not have known their good fortune in selecting Tom Lovell. In 1946, Lovell had been honorably discharged for the U.S. Marine Corps where he served alongside fellow artists John Clymer and Fred Lasswell, illustrating for the Marine Corps Leatherneck magazine. While Lovell was already an accomplished illustrator, he worked almost exclusively for pulp magazines with limited time and means to undertake thorough and judicious research. The commission from Dixon Ticonderoga was perhaps the first time Lovell was able to fully expand his illustrating past these limits, and into the historical accuracy for which the artist is renown today.

    It is clear in the present work that Lovell understood the historical importance of The Noble Train of Artillery as a key moment in the Revolutionary War. Alternatively known as The Knox Expedition, the Noble Train of Artillery was a feat of military logistics and engineering prowess that was the result of the desperation and the boldness of Continental Army Colonel Henry Knox. After the successful capture of Fort Ticonderoga, Henry Knox moved over sixty tons of cannons and military supplies approximately 300 miles over the Berkshire Mountains, swamps, and two semi-frozen rivers in the middle of winter by ox-drawn sledges, boats, horse, and manpower to successfully relieve the Boston Siege. Without the supplies and cannons, General Washington would have lost Boston to the British, and the morale of the American people would have fallen. The Noble Train of Artillery foreshadowed the war to come - a cold and long trek, unlikely to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds, but carried out through sheer will.

    In The Noble Train of Artillery, Lovell encapsulates this treacherous journey, with Fort Ticonderoga barely visible in the distance, as the oxen trudge their way dragging the crucial 24-pounder cannons (roughly the weight of a rhinoceros) and copper cast mortars through the snow. The technical and historical accuracy of the scene is complete with a mix of uniformed soldiers and buck-skinned frontiersmen - all red-faced with cold. The scene is close to the picture plan and cropped at all sides, placing the viewer into the train, in the cold, with the dauting task lying ahead. This ability to capture historical moments with accuracy and human perspective is essential to the ethos and oeuvre of Tom Lovell.


    "I consider myself a storyteller with a brush. I try to place myself back in imagined situations that would make interesting and appealing pictures. I am intent on producing paintings that relate to the human experience." - Tom Lovell




    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; minor craquelure and surface dirt; a small flake of loss at upper right edge; a small approx. 1 inch abrasion above oxen at center of work and another in oxen neck; under UV Light, there appears to be no inpaint.
    Framed Dimensions 45.5 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. 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
    July, 2020
    1st Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,234

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