Cows and Pasture oil on canvas 12 1/4 x 16in overall: 19 1/2 x 23 1/2in
PROVENANCE: Collection of Robert H. Aichele, Sacramento, California
EXHIBITED: San Francisco, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, California Colorists: Paintings by the Society of Six, September 16December 31, 1989. San Francisco, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Facing Eden, 100 Years of Landscape Art in the Bay Area, June 25 - September 10, 1995. Sacramento, California State University, Society of Six, Northern California Plein-Air Artist of the Early Twentieth Century, Inaugural Exhibition for the new University Library Gallery, April 4 - July 27, 2002. Belmont, Notre Dame de Namur University, Wiegand Gallery,The Society of Six: American Masters of Color, March 11 April 19, 2003. Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890 - 1950, October 29, 2006 - June 3, 2007. Oakland, Oakland Museum of California, Artists of Invention: A Century of CCA, October 13, 2007 - March 16, 2008.
LITERATURE: Boas, Nancy, The Society of Six, California Colorists, San Francisco, 1988, p. 72, 76-77, 80, 86, illustrated full page in color. M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, California Colorists, Paintings by the Society of Six, 1989, p. 2, illustrated in color. Nash, Steven,Facing Eden, 100 Years of Landscape Art in the Bay Area, San Francisco, 1995, p. XII, illustrated. Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery, The Society of Six, San Francisco, 1999, illustrated. California State University, Sacramento School of Arts, Society of Six, Northern California Plein-Air Artists of the Early Twentieth Century, Inaugural Exhibition for the new University Library Gallery, Sacramento, 2002, illustrated. San Mateo Times Newspaper, March 3, 2003, p. 1, illustrated. Fischer, Jack, "Brought to Light," San Jose Mercury News, April 6, 2003, Sunday Arts and Entertainment Section, front page color illustration. The Wiegand Gallery, Notre Dame de Namur,The Society of Six: American Masters of Color, Belmont, 2003, cover illustration.
Robert Aichele comments: "I was told that Richard Diebenkorn greatly admired this painting. He apparently saw the work several times at the Oakland Art Museum, where it was on exhibit in the office of director Paul Mills years ago. Ten years ago Terry St. John gave a talk at Sacramento State University on the Society of Six. He was effusive in his praise of this particular work and called it a perfect painting. It has been exhibited on numerous occasions and is an important focal point in Nancy Boas's book on the Society of Six, as well as in many other catalogues such as California Colorists, an exhibition at the M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Society of Six exhibition at the Wiegand Gallery at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California."
In her seminal book Boas quotes Diebenkorn as saying: "Gile's painting is about painting and the act of painting, as much as it is about simple, unencumbered subjects. Gile was a good painter and I expect most good painters would agree with that."
Boas eloquently describes this painting: "Delectable pigment and freely brushed masses describe hills, cows, clumps of trees, and clouds that emerge from the paint in a landscape of invented color. Gile's nearly abstract passages were new to California art when he created this canvas full of midday warmth and painterly exhilaration."
In the catalogue accompanying the Wiegand Gallery exhibition, Boas writes: "As the canon of American art has evolved, it has become clear that the purposes and achievements of the painters of the Society of Six had to do with larger issues of modernism. It wasn't the scenery that distinguished their painting but the formal issues they addressed and the advances they made in the boldness of color and painterly ability to turn pigment into idea." Cows and Pasture is a prime example of these artistic tenets.