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A Woodland Path

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A Woodland Path

Artist: Charles Franklin Pierce (American, 1844 - 1920)

Date: n.d.a.
Medium: Charcoal on tan, wove paper
Overall: 20 3/8 x 14 3/16in. (51.8 x 36cm)
Signed: Artists' initials in lower right corner
Credit Line: Gift of Paul Worman, New York City
Object number: 2002.2
Label Text
Pierce was born in southern New Hampshire and began his art studies in Boston. This ambitious, fully-realized landscape drawing, executed with deft charcoal strokes and a wide range of highlights and shadows, exemplifies the style of drawing that was popular in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century when progressive American artists abandoned the detailed drawing styles of their predecessors in favor of the softer, more broadly rendered stokes used by the French Barbizon School of landscape painters. Pierce adopted this technique when he was in Paris in the late-1870s.

The drawing's vertical format is reminiscent of works by the English landscape painter John Constable (1776-1837) whose pictures Pierce doubtless saw during his extended sojourn in England, Scotland and Wales beginning in the late-1860s, or during one of the trips he made to Europe later in his career. The brightly-lit road, which disappears behind a bend in the lower center of the composition, is a pictorial device that frequently appears in the works of Dutch landscape artists of the 17th century, especially Jacob van Ruisdael (1656-1660) and Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709).

Paul D. Schweizer

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