Featured Wild landscape, does anyone recognise this artist?

Discussion in 'Art' started by ValerieK, Sep 16, 2020 at 5:33 PM.

  1. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    Hi, this is quite a long shot, but this painting came with a job lot of paintings a while ago, and the style is so distinctive and confident that I wondered if anyone might recognise the artist. It has been recently reframed so I can't see the back, and can't find a signature. Somehow it doesn't look "amateur" to me, and I'm hoping someone has seen something like this before. For me it has a certain dreamlike appeal. I took it to an auction's valuation day just for help identifying, but the auctioneer, although pleasant, just said "No-one's buying landscapes these days, especially sepia ones!" which wasn't very helpful. Even a very rough idea of a date would be useful. I love it anyway, but I'd like to know something about it. Sepia - 1.jpg
     
  2. Bookahtoo

    Bookahtoo Moderator Moderator

    It's very nice. It looks like it could be a book illustration.
     
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  3. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    "Dreamlike" is a good word. And it's done with great assurance; doesn't look like an amateur work to me. So just to understand... Is an oil on canvas? Is it behind glass? What are the dimensions? Does the figure look as if he's wearing Western dress? You know... there's no harm done in taking the kraft paper off the back and opening it up to check for artist's name or additional information. Any professional framer can easily replace.

    Debora
     
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  4. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    Glad you like it! It is a bit large to have been used for a book illustration unless a copy was made, it is about 16 inches x 13. But it definitely has a narrative look to it, as if a stage in a story. I would say "Pilgrim's Progress" but the figure looks the wrong period.
     
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  5. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    Hi Debora, it is behind glass, and I'm fairly sure it is watercolour on paper. The figure looks like he could be in 18th/19th century dress, certainly not very modern, could be European or English (yes, I know we are also Europeans, wish we weren't leaving . . .) If no-one recognises it I may have to take the paper off, but usually if there is anything written on it a framer would put that on the paper on the back after framing, so I'm not too hopeful. There might be something in the margin, though. You have reassured me that it is possible the artist might be listed somewhere if I do find out the name.
     
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  6. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    The style reminds me of some mid-century or so illustrations in children's books.
     
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  7. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    I see what you mean, that was my period for reading children's books (!), and they did seem to have a limited colour palette, although I think the detail in the trees would be unnecessary if reduced to page size. Perhaps that's why I like it, it reminds me of my youth!
     
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  8. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    Same years here, Valerie! ;)
     
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  9. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    My immediate reaction was also that it illustrates a story. Could be the original art from which prints were made in the book. Pilgrim's Progress was a good thought, since his hat & staff do suggest a pilgrim.

    I thought maybe The Inferno, remembering that it starts with something about a dark wood, but the drawing does not illustrate the opening lines:

    In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. It is a hard thing to speak of, how wild, harsh and impenetrable that wood was, so that thinking of it recreates the fear.

    Looks like the right wood but the wrong road for Inferno.
     
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  10. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Doré's Inferno.

    Debora

    f_within_a_forest_dark...).jpg
     
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  11. Modest Muse

    Modest Muse Member

    To me it looks like an early 19thC English pencil and watercolour done by an accomplished amateur. Reminds me of the "grisaille" colour palette used in mourning images (would be roughly the same period..)

    Anywho, there are bigger brains than mine here :)
     
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  12. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    Thanks for all your thoughts. It seems like we all agree there is some kind of narrative behind this, it isn't just a strange landscape but is illustrating a stage in a story, and the forest is rather menacing. Perhaps we will all have to make up our own stories to fit the painting, but maybe at some point someone will actually find it illustrating a book. That would be a wonderful find! Or maybe the artist was trying to recapture a dream, and I will never know any more.
     
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  13. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    I don't think the wood is quite as menacing as Hell, but the path seems to be leading the figure into an uneasy darkness just around the corner. I'll try to think of it as Gandalf heading into Mirkwood, he always manages to survive ok!
     
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  14. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    That figure doesn't appear to be wearing Western dress. I really suggest you remove back of frame to see if the back of the work provides any information.

    Debora

    Sepia - 1 2.jpg
     
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  15. ValerieK

    ValerieK Member

    Debora, now that you've said that, I've realised that the painting technique of the trees remind me a bit of Chinese mountain landscapes. The figure could be Chinese, perhaps someone in a Chinese story. I will remove the backing when I've worked through a pile of ceramics I've just bought at auction which are littering the house (or should I say adding to all the clutter in the house!), so I'll leave the painting safely on the wall for a few more days, and then get to work.
     
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