Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0771


[photo] [Watering the horses]
Photo credit: Owner's photograph, 2008
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 28 x 41 in
Inscription: l/r "F. Schäfer" in a Germanic Kurrent script with flourishes
Verso: "606" in blue on the stretcher bars
Provenance: In private collection, Billinge, Wigan, UK, by 2008
Citations: personal communication with the owner, 2008
Attribution: This painting offers a challenge to attribution. In favor of attribution to Frederick F. Schafer are the brushwork, impasto, and palette. The forest interior composition and the subject also typical. But there are two significant things that are not typical.

First and foremost, the draftsmanship displayed in the horses and their riders is far better than Schafer's usual drawing of figures and animals. In Schafer paintings in which the staffage is large enough to examine, the drawing is weak. Perhaps to avoid this weakness, the staffage in most of his paintings is quite small.

Second, the signature, though in a Germanic hand with similarities to that of Frederick Schafer, includes elegant calligraphic flourishes not found on any of his other signatures. Particularly noticeable are the swirls on the initial "F", the graceful descender on the letter "h", and the long tail on the letter "r". Overall, the signature looks like the work of a calligrapher experienced in German Kurrent script. In addition, the signature does not include the usual oversized "f" in the middle of "Schafer".

Together, these observations suggest that the painting be attributed to some other artist who signs paintings "F. Schäfer". However since little is known of Frederick Schafer's work before he emigrated to the United States at age 37, this painting might be one of his earlier works, and the reason it is hard to authenticate is that other works of that period are not available for comparison.

Identification: Descriptive title assigned by the current owner.

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Feb 12, 2017, 16:48 MST