Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2008 Issue

Ten 19th Century American Paintings from William Reese

Reese14

American Paintings, with George Gibbs' Pacific Northwest scene on the cover.


By Michael Stillman

This month, the William Reese Company takes a brief timeout from its usual focus on books, but not from its concentration on Americana. Reese's Art Bulletin 14 is entitled American Paintings . Offered are ten paintings that hearken back to an earlier day in America -- not your youth, as they are too old for that, but perhaps of your grandparents or great-grandparents. What is offered is a series of paintings from the period of 1850-1900, and if your taste runs to older American scenes and scenery, you will enjoy this collection. Here is what is offered.

1. A pastel painting of a Pacific Northwest scene, perhaps on the Columbia River, featuring Indians landing their canoes on a riverbank. The painting is based on sketches made circa 1850-55, but painted somewhat later. Artist George Gibbs was also a customs official in Astoria, Oregon, where he probably painted this picture, as well as a geologist, expert in Indian languages, and took part in the boundary surveys between the United States and Canada. Priced at $75,000.

2. A circa 1900 New England winter scene, with horses and sledge drawing timber through the snow. The painter was George Hallowell, a Boston impressionist painter who was a craftsman, illustrator and architect as well. $25,000.

3. Alfred Murray (aka Lord Alfred Dunmore) painted this watercolor of British lords hunting buffalo around 1862. The hunt likely took place near Fort Ellice in Manitoba, Canada. Young Murray was a nobleman along for adventure on Viscount Milton's exploration of the Canadian West, and apparently something of a bother to the serious explorers. $19,500.

4. An oil painting by Alfred Agoust from 1893 depicting showman Buffalo Bill and two Londoners in what was known as the "Frenchman's Bottle Gag." $47,500.

5. An oil painting of Baltimore, circa 1840, based on a William Henry Bartlett engraving and signed "W.H. Bartlett." Baltimore appears as a shimmering city on a hill in this view. $18,500.

6. An 1850s oil painting of a Cuban sugar plantation, attributed to Charles DeWolf Brownell, a Hudson River School artist who spent his winters on the tropical island. $15,000.

7. "The Cliff Dwellers Daughter," a George Martin Ottinger circa 1900 painting of a young Anasazi woman, one of the Indians who lived among the caves of the Four Corners region a millennium ago. She balances a large bowl atop her head. This painting is of the Natural Bridges area of southern Utah. $5,000.

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