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Lot 184
Edgar Payne
Mountain Vista 40 x 50in
25 November 2019, 18:00 PST
Los Angeles

Sold for US$162,575 inc. premium

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Edgar Payne (1883-1947)

Mountain Vista
signed 'EDGAR PAYNE' (lower right)
oil on canvas
40 x 50in


with William A. Karges Fine Art, Los Angeles, California.
Private collection, Northern California.

Edgar Payne was fully enthralled by the solitude and grandeur of majestic mountains by the 1920's. In fact, much of California by this time was encouraged to get out into the open and enjoy nature and the great outdoors. For many, there was a strong feeling that industrialization and an increasing population was rapidly encroaching on nature and a worry that these pristine areas were threatened. Payne's early compositions are largely devoid of people, as he purposely strove to portray the majesty of nature with the absence of man's presence. Payne traveled extensively throughout his career, seeking inspiration from a variety of scenic locations.

Between 1922 and 1924, he journeyed to Europe and completed a series of impressive seascapes and alpine scenes, which have been historically deemed the start of his mature work. Upon his return from Europe in 1924, Payne began a body of work for which he is best known, paintings of California's Eastern Sierras and the Canadian Rockies. Over a period of twenty years, Payne repeatedly found inspiration in the tranquil forests and awe-inspiring peaks. Anyone that has spent time in the mountains knows firsthand the enormity and magnificence of these pristine locations. Nowhere else in America do mountains and glaciers populate the landscape so abundantly, most with idyllic lakes filled with glacial runoff beneath them and light and shadow in all directions.

In Mountain Vista, Payne uses the afternoon sun to divide the composition diagonally between brilliant light and moody shadow. The result is a familiar scene for those fortunate enough to occupy such a vantage point. Broad brush strokes of color create an interplay between the blues and browns of the exposed rock faces alongside the brilliant white of the glaciers that meander downward. Below that the runoff of 'glacial flour' tints the lake with a brilliant turquoise unique to the high country. Although Payne painted numerous mountains, from multiple points of view, each painting manages to hold its own unique perspective of this grand locale. The sheer scale of the composition makes one feel that they could virtually step in to the scene, as if standing by a window to nature.

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