A study of bamboo oil on paper laid down on Masonite 11 3/4 x 17 7/8in
PROVENANCE: Frederic E. Church and Isabel Mortimer Carnes Church, Hudson, New York Isabel Charlotte Church, daughter of above, by descent, 1900 Louise Dawson Black, daughter of above, by descent, 1935 Louis Church Gillette, son of above, by descent, 1969 Margaret Wood Gillette, wife of above, by descent By descent to the present owner
EXHIBITED: (Possibly) New York, National Academy of Design, 1872, no. 171 (as Bamboo Stems--A Study from Nature).
LITERATURE: (Possibly) "Fine Arts," New York Tribune, New York, April 17, 1872, p. 5. (Possibly) Independent, New York, May 2, 1872, p. 4. (Possibly) "Fine Arts. The Spring Exhibition," Christian Union, New York, April 17, 1872, p. 336. (Possibly) Fine Arts, New York, May 1872, p. 49, no. 171.
The present work will be included in Dr. Gerald Carr's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of oil paintings by Frederic E. Church.
At the height of his career, in May of 1865, Frederic Edwin Church traveled to Jamaica with his wife, Isabel, to escape the tragedy of losing their two young children to diphtheria just three months prior. During this five month stay Church would generate the most extensive production of sketches of any of his travels. As seen in the present work, an oil study of bamboo, his release from grief resulted in highly accurate, vivid observations of botanical growth and tropical light. These studies, which became essential components of Church's working process, allowed the artist to compose much larger, highly detailed canvases in his New York studio after his return. These monumental works were composed of a multitude of these preparatory materials done on site, which resulted in the scientific accuracy of the details. Some of his most celebrated works, such as Rainy Season in the Tropics, 1866 (The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, California) and Vale of St. Thomas, Jamaica, 1867 (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut) were produced from these captivating studies.