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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0054

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[photo] Donner lake [2]
Photo credit: Bruce Davies, Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society
Date: undated
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 30 x 50 in (76 x 126 cm)
Inscription: l/r "FSchafer", in the artist's block-letter hand, initials conjoined in a monogram.
Verso: l/r "Donner Lake", underlined and followed by a single frame of a running dog pattern, in black brush. On frame… t/c "44", in pencil; l & r stamp of "T. J. Sass & Co./14 & 15 Ellis St. S.F." with icon of an eagle.
Provenance: In collection of Joan Olive (Mrs. Robert) Dunsmuir, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, British Columbia, by 1909; to her estate; with H. W. Davies, M.A.A., & Sons, Auctioneers, 23 June 1909; to collection of Vincent Clinton Maddock, Vancouver, British Columbia; bequeathed to The Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society, May 1973.
Exhibited: The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, February 1994 to April 1994. Currently on permanent public display in the castle, in the billiard room, East wall.
Reproductions: Barnard, John L., Craigdarroch Castle, page 4, to the right of the fireplace.
Citations: 23 June 1909 sale, lot 527. Dorothy Wrotnowski, (Victoria, British Columbia) The Daily Colonist, 21 March 1969; Annual meeting minutes of the Craigdarroch Castle Society, 1972; James K. Nesbitt, (Victoria, British Columbia) The Daily Colonist, 10 August 1973; James K. Nesbitt, The Vancouver Sun 29 July 1970 and 9 June 1973; Nesbitt, James K., Craigdarroch Castle, panel 7. Reksten, Terry, Craigdarroch: The Story of Dunsmuir Castle, 1987, page 41. Reksten, Terry, A Guide to Craigdarroch, page 23. Craigdarroch Castle accession file 983.790.
Site: Based on the resemblence to Donner Lake [1] and Donner Lake, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California [4], probably a view looking toward the East over Donner Lake, California.
Description: A snow-covered mountain range under a blue sky with a few fluffy clouds forms a backdrop beyond a lake far below. The lake is surrounded on both sides with brown mountains that have patches of forest. A small triangular foreground on the right in shades of green contains much grass, a large white boulder at the center, a fallen snag extending behind the boulder, and a few trees, including one tall enough that its top reaches to the sky above the mountain range. (From the painting, 11 September 1998.)
Note: 1) Reksten, Terry, Craigdarroch: The Story of Dunsmuir Castle suggests that Craigdarroch may have originally acquired this painting in a September 1891 auction (Vancouver Daily World, September 1891) held by Schafer in Vancouver, British Columbia. 2) The entire contents of Craigdarroch were sold at auction in 1909. The auction catalog lists eight paintings by Schafer; this painting was among the contents of the billiard room. According to Nesbitt in the The Vancouver Sun article, in recent years some effort went into reacquiring as many of the auctioned paintings as possible. This painting, acquired as part of that effort, is believed by Craigdarroch to be one of the original paintings. 3) The photograph in Barnard shows the painting in the drawing room; it has since been moved to correspond with the location described in the 1909 auction catalog.
Identification: Craigdarroch Castle identifies the current painting with the one sold in 1909. Nesbitt, in the June 1973 The Vancouver Sun article says that it is not known whether or not Maddock was the successful bidder at the 1909 auction, but in the August 1973 (Victoria, British Columbia) The Daily Colonist article states that he was, suggesting that he learned something about the continuity of the provenance in the interim. Unfortunately, no other supporting documentation has appeared.

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Feb 13, 2017, 11:05 MST