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    Description

    JAMES DAVID SMILLIE (American, 1833-1909)
    The Cliffs at Etretat, 1884
    Watercolor on paper
    6-3/4 x 10-3/8 inches (17.1 x 26.4 cm)
    Signed, dated and inscribed lower right: J. Smillie / Etretat / July 11 '84

    THE JEAN AND GRAHAM DEVOE WILLIFORD CHARITABLE TRUST

    PROVENANCE:
    (Possibly) Barridoff, South Portland, Maine, November 10, 1979.

    EXHIBITED:
    American Water Color Society (members' exhibition form attached verso).

    This beautiful watercolor records a view of the geological formations which made Etretat in Haute-Normandie, France a celebrated artists' haunt throughout the nineteenth century: the spectacular white cliffs, three natural arches, and the pointed needle which rises from the waves near the shore. The particular feature which became a favorite motif of artistic notables including Eugene Boudin, Gustave Courbet, and Claude Monet is the profile of one of the stone arches that strongly resembles the head of an elephant with its trunk dipped into the sea. The "elephant" is the centerpiece of this painting, situated at the end of the long curve which winds from the top of the cliff down to the sea.

    James David Smillie belonged to a notable artistic family. His father James (1807-1885) was an accomplished steel engraver with whom he collaborated until 1864. His brother was the noted landscape painter George Henry Smillie (1840-1921). Although he had a later start to his career as a landscape painter owing to his early work as a printmaker, James Smillie soon distinguished himself as an exceptional watercolorist and was co-founder of the American Water Color Society in 1866. He traveled widely in search of subject matter, and both wrote and illustrated a major work on the American landscape, Picturesque America (1872). His work is represented in many museum collections.



    Condition Report*: Watercolor laid on backing paper or paperboard. Not examined out of frame. No apparent condition issues (sight). Matted and framed under glass. Framed Dimensions 17.5 X 21.5 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, 2014
    10th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 973

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