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    Description

    VICTOR HIGGINS (American, 1884-1949)
    November -Country Landscape, circa 1920
    Oil on canvas
    25 x 30 inches (63.5 x 76.2 cm)
    Signed lower right: Victor Higgins

    PROVENANCE:
    Marty and Barbara Slater, Scottsdale, Arizona;
    Private collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico;
    Thomas Nygard Gallery, Bozeman, Montana, #VH 1-03;
    Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, #B6203 (labels verso).

    LITERATURE:
    D. Porter, Victor Higgins: An American Master, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1991, p. 262, fig 17b.

    Victor Higgins stands as a transitional figure between the more traditional members of the Taos Society of Artists and the modernists. The Taos School focused on representing the native people of New Mexico and their vibrant landscape in a realistic and academic style. Contemporary artists such as Marsden Hartley and John Marin painted the same subject matter but with a bold and abstract manner. Higgins was a student of the Art Institute of Chicago prior to studying in Europe. While in Europe, he became acquainted with Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings, two other future Taos Society artists. It was through their encouragement, as well as the patronage of Chicago mayor Carter Harrison, that Higgins first visited Taos in 1914.

    Higgins blended his strong academic training with a spirit of experimentation and innovation. He had been deeply influenced by the 1913 Armory Show in New York which ushered in the modernist movement in America. Although his early New Mexico work is firmly grounded in traditional realism, Higgins steadily moved away from this approach throughout his career. By the time of his death in 1949, his small landscapes or "little gems" were abstract expressions of land, color, and sky rather than literal interpretations of the surrounding terrain.

    Painted around 1920, November-Country Landscape documents the evolution of Higgins' style and changing taste in subject matter. Representational in approach, this study of Aspen trees contrasted against the brilliant New Mexico sky hints at the direction in which Higgins was progressing. While the initial impression given by the painting is that of a realistic landscape, a closer examination shows a deft use of quick, broad brushstrokes that divide the canvas into bands of contrasting colors. The adobe building and adjacent figures are more suggestive than literal. Higgins has captured the essence of the New Mexico landscape in a manner that hints at reality while not fully embracing it.

    Like other modernists who were inspired by northern New Mexico, Higgins was captivated by the area's brilliant light, wide range of color, and the native cultures that seemed to be a harmonious extension of the land itself. November-Country Landscape is a prime example of Higgins' ability to capture the essence of the land and sky from which he drew inspiration.




    Condition Report*: Very good condition. Framed Dimensions 31 X 36 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
    November, 2012
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,337

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