William Wendt (1865-1946) Winter, Mt. Rainier, Paradise Valley 30 x 40in  overall: 39 x 47in (Painted in 1913)
Lot 62
William Wendt
(1865-1946)
Winter, Mt. Rainier, Paradise Valley 30 x 40in overall: 39 x 47in
Sold for US$ 87,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
William Wendt (1865-1946)
Winter, Mt. Rainier, Paradise Valley
signed and dated '·William Wendt·1913·' (lower left), titled (on the presentation plaque)
oil on canvas
30 x 40in
overall: 39 x 47in
Painted in 1913

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    (Probably) Mr. Paul Schulze Sr. (1864-1948), Chicago, Illinois.
    Helen (née Schulze) Burch, Chicago, Illinois and Richmond, Virginia.
    Thence by family descent, Fredericksburg, Texas, by April 2005.
    Private collection.

    In 1913, William Wendt embarked on two painting trips, one of which eventually led him to Washington state. There he spent the summer painting snow-capped views of Mt. Rainier, and other nearby mountains, which he showed nationally.1 Paradise is the highest point accessible by road to Mt. Rainier.

    In a review of the show which was likely this work's debut, Antony Anderson described Wendt's 'notable pictures' as "large, serious, deliberate, carefully thought out from start to finish. The result is quiet massiveness, the brooding bigness of nature in skies, hills, and mountains. And his technique has the sureness which comes from thought and knowledge...he may be called a painter's painter." 2

    William Wendt's landscapes reveal as much about the grandeur of the West as the artist's own religious beliefs. Wendt believed in the theory of intelligent design and believed that God's creative purpose for the Earth is as evident in the natural world as in scripture. Winter, Mt. Rainier, Paradise Valley, with its bright, broad and lively brushwork, emphasizes the contrast between the immortality of the landscape and the mortality of its creator. The juxtaposition of these two truths, both of which Wendt deeply believed, appear frequently throughout his landscape compositions: "A man who can compose so surely and strongly has to know where he stands in relation to life, he must see the world as a moral creation, a thing of inevitable laws and definite structures". 3

    Winter, Mt. Rainier, Paradise Valley exemplifies the artist's ability to capture the magnificence and the vastness of the great western landscape. As the composition gradually leads the eye across snowfields and up towards the rugged mountain peaks, Wendt directs the viewer's gaze to ascend to the heavens, the very source of his inspiration. He seldom depicted figures in his landscapes, instead focusing on capturing the dignity and spirituality he saw as inherent to the landscape.

    The provenance of the present work is notable: Helen (née Schulze) Burch was the daughter of Paul Schulze, one of the founders of the Schulze Baking Company in Chicago, Illinois. 4. Established in 1893, the bakery became one of the largest in the country, and exists today as the Schulze and Burch Biscuit Company. Mr. Schulze was a member of the Municipal Art League of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago Galleries Association, among others.5 He owned at least one other work by William Wendt, California Poppies, which he lent to the Friends of American Art exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1914. 6.

    1 Janet Blake, Will South, and Jean Stern, In Nature's Temple: The Life and Art of William Wendt, Irvine: The Irvine Museum, 2008, p. 246, 247.
    2 Antony Anderson, "Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1914, p. III4.
    3 Arthur Millier, "Of Art and Artists," Los Angeles Times, April 25, 1926, n.p.
    4 "Paul Schulze Dies, Baking Firm Head." New York Times, August 15, 1948, p. 60.
    5 Ibid.
    6 John Alan Walker, Documents on the Life and Art of William Wendt (1865-1946), California's Painter Laureate of the Paysage moralisé, Big Sur, 1992, p. 137.
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