Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Conventions: Description of the painting subject

Site: Many of Schafer's paintings are of recognizable sites in western North America; when the title or the subject matter allows, this section identifies (or speculates about) the site and the prospect.

Description: If available, a brief description of the appearance and subject matter of the painting. There are two primary goals of the description. The first is to allow searching for paintings based on the words of the description. For example, the descriptions allow one to quickly locate all paintings containing depictions of "tepees". The second goal is identification, to distinguish the described painting from other paintings by the artist. For this reason, the descriptions often include what seem like minor points such as the position or shape of a boulder. As it happens, although Schafer often painted the same scene several times (for example, there are at least 50 views of Mount Shasta from the south and southwest), he always introduced enough variety in the details that no two paintings appear to be identical; the descriptions are designed to distinguish using this variety. Some descriptions also mention other paintings by the artist (and occasionally by other artists) that appear to be closely related by subject matter or composition.

For those paintings for which only a monochrome reproduction could be located, the descriptions should be read quite skeptically. Where color reproductions are the basis for a description, some skepticism is still warranted, because reproduced color sometimes is not accurate and in any case a reproduction often gives a distinctly different impression from the original. In most cases, the description ends with a note indicating whether it is based on photographs or personal examination of the original painting.

Since images are available for nearly every painting in the catalog, most recently-added paintings omit the description.

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Mar 10, 2024, 11:47 MDT Accessibility