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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0041

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[photo] Catskill Fall, Catskill Mountains, New York
Photo credit: Mark Traugott, 2007
Date: undated (see note 5)
Medium: oil on canvas, lined
Size: 30 x 50 in (76 x 127 cm) [see Identification]
Inscription: l/l "F. Schafer", in the artist's characteristic block-letter hand
Verso: said to be "Catskill Fall, Catskill Mtns., N.Y." before lining
Provenance: In private collection, Oakland, California; to private collection, San Francisco, c. 1970; sold in 1983 by Carlson Gallery, San Francisco. In private collection, Venice, California; sold 31 July 1991 for $3000 + 10% as lot 2021 in sale 4579D by Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco. Sold 24 June 1992 for $1600 + 10% as lot 6256 in sale 4907D by Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco. Sold 16 June 1998 for $1800 + 10% by John Moran Auctioneers, Inc., Altadena, California as lot 150a in an unidentified sale. Offered April 2007 by an unidentified San Francisco dealer. Sold 26 July 2014 for $6000 + 17% as lot 257 by The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction, Reno, Nevada. Sold 24 April 2018 for $7000 + 25% as lot 4 in sale CAL1804LA by Bonhams, Los Angeles.
Reproductions: William K. Dick photo #69 (color, 1971); 31 July 1991 sale catalog; Early California and Western Art Research/Schafer slide #111 (1991); 24 June 1992 sale catalog; 16 June 1998 sale catalog; 26 July 2014 sale catalog; 24 April 2018 sale catalog.
Citations: William K. Dick notes, page 76
Site: A view of Catskill Fall, also known as Kaaterskill Falls, on the Catskill Escarpment near the town of Palerville, New York. There are two other Schafer paintings of scenes within a few miles of Catskill Fall, Autumn on South Lake, Catskill Mountains, New York and Old Woolen Mill in the Catskills, New York.
Description: A mountain valley. A stream falls over a brownish-grey rocky cliff in the center and descends directly toward the viewer under the trunk of a fallen tree which leans on a boulder on the right side. A figure wearing a brown, broad-brimmed hat and carrying a staff stands looking at the fall on the left bank behind a large white boulder. Two large tree trunks stand on the bank to the left, brush on the bank to the right, dead trees and clutter lie scattered about in the middle distance. The sky above the cliff is bright blue with a few white clouds; another, higher rocky cliff is visible in the background. (From the painting, 28 July 1991.)
Note: (1) The original title having been lost to lining, later owners or galleries seem to have invented the alternate title referring to the California naturalist John Muir, perhaps because of some resemblence of the figure to a widely-circulated photograph of John Muir. (2) The composition of this painting is very similar to [In the Catskills] and [Nevada Falls 2]. (3) This painting was reported to have been offered for sale in an unidentified Palo Alto art gallery in December 2002. (4) The current stretcher bars (apparently replaced when the painting was lined) carry a faint imprint of the Annesley John Company of Healdsburg, California. (5) This painting may have been executed between the fall of 1871 and the spring of 1873, a period when Schafer is thought to have temporarily resided on the east coast of the United States before settling in San Francisco.
Identification: Title from the verso inscription reported in records of the 1970 collector. In the Butterfield & Butterfield sale catalogs the size is given as 30 x 51 3/4, and the alternate title is used, but the photograph matches the William K. Dick 1971 photo.
Other title(s): John Muir's Valley (1991 and 1992 sale catalogs); John Muir's Valley, Yosemite (2014 sale catalog)

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