Mount Alice signed 'Edgar Payne' (lower right) oil on canvas 28 x 34in overall: 36 x 42in
Provenance With Petersen Galleries, Beverly Hills, California. Private collection, Southern, California, since 1984.
Called the poet-painter of the California Sierra, Payne led a close circle of artistic friends on treks through the indomitable Sierra country, drawing on his pathfinding skills and knowledge of the area to introduce them to new subjects for their brushes. His first recorded venture into the majestic Sierra country, in 1917, was somewhat early and unusual for an artist in Southern California, reflecting his adventurous, imaginative, and independent spirit. It is told that his favorite setting for these remote mountainscapes was the Big Pine Lakes Region, which included some of the eastern Sierra's most towering and rugged slopes. There, he made an extended study of the lakes, cascades, crags, cliffs, and glaciers. Payne traveled up Big Pine Creek in the North Palisades to reach the base of Mount Alice, an elevation of 11,360 feet. The peak itself is 13,315 feet. Though he never conquered the reaches of the summits, he viewed his scenes from the heights of valleys just below, setting up campsites with his entourage to makes his sketches for his finished oil paintings. At this point in his career, following his European experience, Payne's brushwork broadened to create a more panoramic sweep to his mountain scenes, as in Mount Alice. Here, the swirling motion of the clouds enliven the sky. It has been argued that the elemental and primeval of nature's wilderness had a deeper spiritual meaning for Payne than just a direct representation of place. We are grateful to Patricia Trenton, Ph.D. for this essay. She is the co-author of Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey with Scot Schields as well as numerous publications on California artists.
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