FREDERIC MILTON GRANT
United States, 1886-1959
Oil on canvas | Signed lower right "Frederic M. Grant", signed and titled "Lake Shore" verso on stretcher bars
Item # 109MPK24Q
A vibrant landscape that blends the lines of genre work with the impressionist landscape, it captures a pair of woman caught in the middle of a conversation while a young child is exploring the path barefoot. The traditional dress is reminiscent of a century prior and is evocative of a rural Italian landscape, though the stretchers on the reverse of the painting are simply titled "Lake Shore" with no recorded indication of the placement of the scene. The brilliant cobalt blue of the lake is visible to the far right of the nearly square composition while the trees stretch like spires through the horizon and beyond the scope of the canvas, proportionally dwarfing even the cliffs in the distance behind the women.
It is a composition familiar to Grant, with his preference for framing subjects with towering local trees, utilizing a relatively square canvas and including just a hint of water. In this particular example, the interplay of light and shadow in the scene is positively brilliant with Grant's palette switching from high-chroma to low-saturation within the span of a single brushstroke.
The scene is signed in the lower right in his typical script, "Frederic M. Grant" and is housed in a good quality period correct carved giltwood frame.
Born in Sibley, Iowa on October 6th of 1886, Frederic Milton Grant studied at the North Dakota State University before heading to the Art Institute of Chicago. There he trained under John Vanderpool, Alphonse Mucha, Frederick Freer, Louis Wilson and Walter Clute. He spent time in Italy studying under William Merritt Chase in Venice and went to Paris to study at the Académie Colarossi. Thereafter he spent time in Gloucester, Massachusetts where he studied under Henry Snell before returning to Chicago. In 1915 he sent his first group of paintings to the Art Students League of Chicago, winning first prize for the submissions and within a short period of time cemented his reputation as a highly skilled colorist.
He traveled extensively throughout the 1920s, spending time in Europe and Italy in particular in 1922 through 1923. He traveled around the world in 1928, sketching the distant destinations of China, Bali, Japan and Egypt. These travels produced a number of genre scenes and still-life paintings, but he became particularly well known for his wonderful landscapes with the distinct influence of pre-impressionism evident in the styling. This was almost certainly derived at least in part from his deep admiration for the work of Adolphe Monticelli, one of the great pre-impressionists that became lost with the emergence of the "new styles" of Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne. These also fascinated Grant and while in Paris he spent a great deal of time studying the works of both men, the influence of Cézanne evident in the blocked and fractal composition of his scenes. His interest and admiration for the works of Monet and also the time he spent studying under William Merritt Chase had a dramatic impact on the coloring of his paintings, incorporating bold, unforgiving and high-saturation jewel-like colors to draw out elements on the full tonal spectrum of his canvas.
Despite a busy travel schedule, Chicago was his home and he taught at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and also executed a number of public murals in Chicago commercially. He was a member both of the Cliff Dwellers and the Chicago Painters and Sculptors. He submitted his work regularly to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Chicago Arts Club, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Art and the Chicago Arts Guild among others. His work is held in museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and The Metropolitan Museum of Art among many others.
After World War II he moved to Oakland, California where he would remain until his death in 1959.
Measurements: 31 1/4" H x 33 1/4" W [canvas]; 41 3/4" H x 43 3/4" W x 2" D [frame]
Condition Report: Original linen in good condition with wax lining; original stretcher (replaced keys); professionally cleaned and conserved: old varnish removed, old overpaint removed (chemically & mechanically), traditional damar varnish applied, losses filled and inpainted where necessary (see shots under UV: touch-ups throughout the sky, some overpaint flanking the central figures, inpainting along the right and left sides by the frame edge in numerous spots, various spots of inpaint in the foliage; overall perhaps 5% of the scene with inpaint/overpaint), sealed in damar varnish. Housed in a carved giltwood frame of good quality, minor gilt losses and blemishes.