Three Wounded Champions of American Tonalism : Ralph Albert Blakelock, Homer Dodge Martin, Alexander Helwig Wyant
The author is simply a collector of many years who is seeking to impart his knowledge of formerly famous but now obscure 19th century American landscape painters. The stories of their lives are interesting and the images are wonderful. Time has simply passed them by leaving them forgotten by most and studied by few. Ralph Albert Blakelock had a clear vision of his work and stood steadfast to his art. The financial pressures of a large family and of continual rejection lead to psychological problems requiring institutionalization. After years of hospitalization, he began to achieve artistic and financial success only to have it plucked from him by a ruthless and fraudulent adventuress. Homer Dodge Martin sought to develop a new style of painting which would be a modification and extension of the landscapes of the Hudson River School. He struggled to earn a living from his work most of his life. he had eyesight problems since childhood and had been rejected from service in the Union army during the Civil War. He could not draw straight lines or perpendicular lines. None of this stropped him from focusing on his art. Alexander Helwig Wyant had moderate success throughout his life. he sought to create through his paintings "quiet spaces" which could be enjoyed by all. Suffering a devastating stroke asa young man did not deter him. The stroke immobilized his right hand, his painting hand. Wyant mastered painting with his left hand and achieved success. The paralysis eventually spread to his entire right side causing his to walk sideways but he still continued painting his landscapes. Pupils continued to come to him and he even married a young attractive student who was a successful painter of watercolors in her own right. These artists painted their landscapes at a time when the American public had lost interest in the Hudson River School or for that matter American paintings in general. European paintings were being sought by all and American paintings were being neglected. They all understood the trends and the changing tastes of the public but it did not stop them in continuing with their art and images. This is a short book with many footnotes and a detailed bibliography. If it wets your interest, you can find more and better books to read on the subject. As an aside, their paintings are still being bought and sold, making them available to the general public. I have carefully listed auction results from 1945 to the present and have included the present values of these older sale prices. As can be seen, these works are remarkably reasonable and they have exhibited little price change, if not actual declines, over many years. Over the many years there have been substantial increases and declines but as of now the prices are stable with the paintings being in little demand.
- Paperback | 108 pages
- 152 x 229 x 6mm | 154g
- 14 Aug 2015
- Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
- United States
- black & white illustrations
About Robert L Lewis
I am simply a collector of many years who is seeking to impart his knowledge of formerly famous but now obscure 19th century American landscape painters. In attending both undergraduate and graduate courses, I became fully conscious of the emphasis devoted by academia on post war contemporary art, to the exclusion of almost everything else. This book is being written in the hope of keeping alive the knowledge of these three artists and of the period when they created their art. In a prior life I was involved in finance as an attorney. In attempting to show the posthumous interest in their art, I have listed auction results from 1945 to the present. In making these prices more relevant, I have set forth for each sale, the dollar value in current prices. It becomes obvious, that except for certain rises and falls, the values of these paintings are no longer appreciated by the general collecting public. My last book, "Art as Investment: An Anthology of Academic Research Papers from the Past 100 Years," makes clear that art is usually not a good investment. I accept that as applicable to these artists as well. However, the reasonable prices of their paintings make them appealing to collectors. The artists have interesting histories, the paintings have aesthetic appeal while offering an interesting contrast to most contemporary art.