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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0234

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[photo] North Heads on the Pacific Coast, California

Date: said to be undated
Medium: oil on canvas, back covered with foam board
Size: 30 x 50 in (76.2 x 126.7 cm)
Inscription: l/r "F. Schäfer", in the artist's block-letter hand
Verso: l/r "North Heads on the Pacific Coast / California", in ink (visible through window in foam board)
Provenance: With Sotheby Arcade, New York, 14 August 1984, lot 240. With Sotheby's, New York, 23 June 1987. With Christie's, New York, 7 October 1987. With Sotheby Arcade, New York, 17 March 1988. With Frank S. Schwartz and Son, Philadelphia, 1989; to collection of Davis Advertising Agency, Philadelphia, 5 May 1990; with Stephenson's Auctioneers and Appraisers, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 6 September 2012.
Reproductions: 17 March 1988 sale catalog 1234, lot 146; 23 June 1987 sale catalog 1205, lot 155; 7 October 1987 sale catalog 6413, lot 113; American Painting (Schwartz), November 1989, item 28 (color); 6 September 2012 sale catalog lot 410 (color).
Citations: Inventory of American Paintings… record 63008466
Site: The North side of the Golden Gate, near San Francisco, California.
Description: Surf from the dark, greyish-green ocean on the left breaks against a massive, dark brown rock head on the right and a bright beach situated below light beige rocks in the right foreground. A dead branch angles out from atop the nearby rocks; another dead branch lies on the beach just above the signature. A triple-masted ship with its sails stowed steams toward the left with its stack blowing smoke to the right. Beyond, on the horizon, are the sails of three or four schooners. Seagulls flock around the head and in the distance just off the shore. The sky is bright with the high fog typical of a summer day in that area. (From a color photograph.)
Identification: The 7 October 1987 sale describes the painting with the title The North Heads of the Pacific coast, size 29.5 x 30 in, and signature l/l. However, the photograph is of a rectangular painting with the signature l/r, and which appears to be the same painting as in the 17 March 1988 sale. Leonard's Annual Price Index of Art Auctions reports that Sotheby Arcade, in the 14 August 1984 sale, gives the height of this picture as 29.75 in. The Inventory listing spells the artist's name "Schaefer, Frederick Ferdinand", perhaps in an attempt to represent the umlauted "a" in the signature. It is possible that another Inventory of American Paintings report (in 1968) by Metcalf of [North Heads], described as a coast scene near Stinson Beach, north of San Francisco, is also of the same painting.

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Feb 13, 2017, 11:05 MST