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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0256

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[photo] Mount Tacoma, view from The Dalles, Oregon
Photo credit: Bruce Davies, Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society
Date: undated
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 30 x 50 in (75 x 125 cm)
Inscription: l/r "FSchafer", underlined, in the artist's block-letter hand, initials conjoined in a monogram.
Verso: l/c "Mt Tacoma/View from the Dalles, Org." in black brush, the "c" in "Tacoma" is over an original "k". On frame: u/c "52", in pencil.
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.
Citations: 21 June 1909, auction catalog, lot 534. 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 983.797.
Site: The title is puzzling. "Mount Tacoma" is an old name for present-day Mount Rainier [Meany, Edmond C., Origins of Washington Geographic Names, Hitchman, Robert, Place Names of Washington]. But Mount Rainier can not be seen from The Dalles, and the mountain in the painting is somewhat too steep-sided and does not appear to be glacier-covered.
Description: Under a blue sky with streaks of white clouds, the sun, low off the canvas to the right, pinkens a rather abrupt, isolated, and steep mountain just to the left of center and beyond a small lake or river. The near shore to the left is cluttered with large boulders, beyond which a tight cluster of three or four conifers are tall enough to be silhouetted against the sky; a snag lies on the ground below the trees. On the far shore, directly beneath the peak, are two campfires and several tepees. (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.
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. Unortunately, no other supporting documentation has appeared. The 1909 auction catalog describes the painting as '"Mt. Tacoma," view from the Dalles, Oregon'; Reksten reports the title as simply "Mount Tacoma".

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Feb 13, 2017, 11:05 MST