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Edgar Alwin Payne

1883-1947

Chioggia boats

Oil on canvas laid to board
Signed lower left: Edgar Payne
12" H x 12" W

  • Notes: A label affixed to the frame's backing board indicates the work was cleaned, chemically treated, and finished with an acrylic ester resin varnish. From the sparkling waters of France and Italy and the snow-swept peaks of the Swiss Alps to the rolling hills of California and sun-kissed desserts of the American Southwest, American painter Edgar Alwin Payne captured it all on canvas in an illustrious career as one of the United States' preeminent Impressionist painters. From the age of fourteen Payne dreamed of being an artist. Born in Missouri, in his late teens Payne traveled through the American South and Midwest painting murals and stage sets, before a minute stint at the Chicago Art Institute in 1907. Like many expressive artists of his time, Payne became bored with the rigid structure of academic art institutions and became a self-taught artist. Payne worked and lived as an artistic nomad, moving between California and Chicago, taking commissions, working on large-scale murals, and, in 1912, marrying fellow artist Elise Philippa Palmer. In 1918 the couple settled in Laguna Beach, California, becoming an integral part of the burgeoning art community that was taking root there. Payne helped found the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, and became the organization's first president. From his home base in southern California, Payne ventured out into the California mountains, painting striking scenes of the peaks and valleys of the Sierra Nevada. Payne took on numerous commissions and exhibited throughout the Mid- and Western United States. Edgar and Elise Payne made frequent trips to Europe, painting in the harbors of Brittany, France, and in and around Venice, Italy, which this lot depicts. As an impressionist painter concerned with capturing light, the clear waters, red sails, and Mediterranean architecture provided ample inspiration for the Paynes. Sottomarina is a small "frazione" - a section of the district of Chioggia that makes up the municipality of Venice. Chioggia was one of the many "farm islands" that supplied the city with food and other goods, and in the case of Chioggia, wine. The many shallow-draft boats depicted in Payne's Italian works transported wine from Sottomarina to Venice proper. Payne's exquisite Italian paintings capture the light and energy of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Commissions began to wane after the stock market crash of 1929, and from 1930 onwards Payne made painting the Sierra Nevada's his primary subject matter. He spent an excessive amount of time finding the perfect angle, the perfect lighting, to put to canvas. His love of the Sierra Nevada was unrivaled, and even produced a documentary film, "Sierra Journey." Diagnosed with cancer in 1942, Edgar Payne passed away in 1947, leaving behind an unrivaled legacy of American landscape painting. Edgar Payne's works are included in the collections of numerous institutions including the Laguna Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Paynes Lake in the Sierra Nevada is named in his honor.
  • Condition: Visual: Overall good condition. Blacklight: A pea-sized spot of touch-up in the upper left quadrant. Frame: 20" H x 20.25" W x 2" D

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