< Tour Previous

Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd1122

Tour next >

[photo] Evening on Mount Hood, Oregon (attributed)

Date: n.d.
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 22 x 36 in (56 x 91 cm)
Inscription: Signed indistinctly "M. Markman" (alternate reading: "W. Markmann") in a hand slanted sharply to the left but otherwise similar to Schafer's characteristic block-printing hand.
Verso: Titled "Ev. on Mt. Hood. Or." in what appears to be Schafer's characteristic block-printing hand. On the lower stretcher bar, in pencil and in an unidentified cursive hand, "Mr. F. Schaefer".
Provenance: "Property from a Long Beach, California Private Collection.", sold 12 January 2021 for $3200 + 25% by Andrew Jones Auctions, Los Angeles, as lot 314 in the sale "DTLA Collections & Estates" to private collection, Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Citations: Personal communication with the 2021 collector.
Attribution: The Andrew Jones Auctions catalog identifies the artist as "Walter Markmann (American, Early 20th Century)" with no further information. No artist by that name seems to appear in any standard biographical listing of artists. Rereading the signature inscription suggests that the first initial may be "M" rather than "W" and that the surname may or may not end with a second "n", but none of these rereadings improve the search for an artist with that name.

The painting itself has several characteristics that suggest that it is actually by Frederick Ferdinand Schafer and a pencilled inscription of Schafer's (misspelled) name on the lower stretcher bar suggests that someone else noticed the same things. The subject matter, overall composition, color palette, consistent direction of illumination, cloud treatment, botanically accurate trees, and foreground debris are all typical of Schafer's work, as well as the profile of Mount Hood being slightly exaggerated and the more distant planes being less finished. The inclusion and appearance of the long boats, teepees, and staffage are also typical, though the lack of an illuminated central focus on those three elements of the composition is quite atypical.

Curiously, the signature is in a printed Germanic hand similar in some ways to that of Schafer and it appears to be under the varnish, suggesting that it was applied at the time of the painting. There are a few other paintings that appear to be by Schafer that bear similarly problematic signatures yet are not obvious attempts to escalate the value of the painting, for example, Mount Hood from Hood River, Oregon [5] (attributed) and [Mountain composition 3 (Matterhorn? and Dent d'Hérens?)].

Some conjectures: (1) In later years Schafer frequently advertised that he would teach painting lessons and even offered to finish paintings started by others. This painting may be an example. (2) Perhaps another artist tried to escalate his reputation by applying his own signature to a work by Schafer. (3) Schafer himself may have applied the signature as some kind of joke.

The unusual signature notwithstanding, the painting is probably the work of Frederick F. Schafer or was largely by him.

Site: View along the Hood River with Mount Hood, Oregon, in the background.
Identification: Title from the verso inscription, presumably applied by Schafer.
Other title(s): Mount Hood River Landscape with Native American Encampment in the Foreground (Andrew Jones Auctions 2021 sale catalog)

Title list
Other lists
Help About the Artist Copyright Notice Schafer Catalog Home Page
Comments, corrections, or questions: Saltzer@mit.edu
Aug 20, 2021, 12:47 MDT Accessibility