Late Afternoon, Monterey, 1914 signed and dated 'E.C. Fortune 1914' (lower right), dated '1914' (lower left) and inscribed with title 'Late Afternoon' on the stretcher bar oil on canvas 26 x 28in
Provenance: Gift from the artist to St. Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh, Scotland Sold through unknown vendor, United Kingdom Private Collection, York, England
Note: E. Charlton Fortune, one of California's leading impressionistic painters, was born in Sausalito, California to an American mother and Scottish father. Fortune lived and worked in Europe intermittently from 1897 and 1927. In 1898, she attended St. Margaret's Convent, a Roman Catholic girl's school in Scotland. It was during this period that Fortune traveled to France, where she encountered the works of the European masters. The work of the Impressionists would become particularly influential on Fortune's painting style.
Prior to the 1906 earthquake, Fortune studied with Arthur Mathews in San Francisco, from whom she learned that line, color, form and composition were the basic components of painting. She later studied at the Art Students League in New York, where she worked with Frank Vincent Dumond, Francis Luis Mora and William Merritt Chase.
By 1913, Fortune began spending her summers on the Monterey Peninsula, at which point her paintings were distinctly impressionist, with a high key palette and a striking plein-air feeling. During the summer of 1914 in Monterey, William Merritt Chase made a seminal visit to the local arts community and conducted a series of classes, which were attended by artists such as E. Charlton Fortune and Mary deNeale Morgan.
It is quite possible that Late Afternoon, Monterey was painted during Chase's visit in the summer of 1914. The impressionist style of this painting reflects many of the aspects that are integral to the artist's technique and, while Fortunes paintings at this time have their own distinctive style, the influence of Chase is undeniable. The radiant light and rich colors of the California coast would have provided an ideal location for Chases art classes. The docks of Monterey offered the perfect compositional inspiration for Fortune. She would return to this subject on numerous occasions, painting the scene from a variety of vantage points.
Late Afternoon, Monterey exemplifies the quintessential California impressionistic painting, making it apparent why a similar version was chosen to be illustrated on the cover of Ruth Westphal's book, Plein Air Painters of California, The North. Two similar views of this Monterey location, executed by Fortune in 1916, are also illustrated in the Carmel Art Association's catalogue E. Charlton Fortune on pages 50-51.