Edgar Payne (1883-1947) Footbridge below Snowcapped Peaks 43 1/2 x 43 1/2in (Painted circa 1921-1923.)

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Lot 38
Edgar Payne
(1883-1947)
Footbridge below Snowcapped Peaks 43 1/2 x 43 1/2in

US$ 100,000 - 150,000
£ 80,000 - 120,000
Edgar Payne (1883-1947)
Footbridge below Snowcapped Peaks
signed 'Edgar Payne' (lower left)
oil on canvas
43 1/2 x 43 1/2in
Painted circa 1921-1923.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, Rome, Italy.

    Edgar Payne spent much of the summer of 1921 sketching in the Sierras, but the artist was restless for more peaks to explore, so he planned an extended and long-awaited trip to Europe with his family. He began what was to be a two-year journey by sailing from New York to Paris in July 1922. His family remained in Paris throughout August and then drove through the mountainous Haute-Savoie region along the Swiss border, through the French Alps. They visited quaint towns such as Chamonix, Les Houches and Les Contamines-Montjoie. Here Payne must have been captivated by the glacier-laden peaks that abound in all directions. Within every valley along the French-Swiss border one finds majestic peaks towering above the viewer. The notion that nature overshadows the individual was in full view. Payne's extensive talents were already abundant and well-documented, having painted in the Sierras for several years. He simply had to decide which peak he wanted to paint each day and from which perspective. Not one to stay put for long, the artist climbed to as many high elevation vantage points as he could find for his compositions.

    Footbridge below Snowcapped Peaks is almost certainly a peak above Argentière, which stands within the valley of Chamonix. A similar version of the mountain can be seen in the artist's painting Peak at Argentière (Trenton, Edgar Payne, The Scenic Voyage, p. 114). The perspective appears to be higher up the mountain and to the right of the main peak. The sun is beginning to fall as a shadow crosses the center of the glacier. This gives the artist the opportunity to paint half of the work in bright light and half in darker, more romantic hues. The sky is painted with Payne's signature thick impasto and dabs and dashes of both pinks and light blues alongside one another.

    In her extensive monograph on the artist, Edgar Payne, The Scenic Voyage, Dr. Patricia Trenton writes: "Over the course of his trip [to Europe], which lasted until the end of the summer of 1924, Payne received accolades from the press is Los Angeles and Chicago as well as in Paris and Rome, confirming the success of his efforts. At the same time, his odyssey influenced his art more than he might have expected. Responding to the French and Swiss Alps...he united his visual impressions with abstract form, expressing the essence of his subjects while also finding in them the means to convey his reverence for nature and to refine the ideas about visual harmony that he would codify in his book of advice to artists, Composition of Outdoor Painting (1941). Europe provided a means for Payne to solidify and enhance his artistic identity, while in painting the Alps he established a point of comparison by which to affirm the aesthetic value of the more pristine Sierra Nevada."
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