Theodore Earl Butler (1861-1936) Brooklyn Bridge, New York 30 1/8 x 40 1/8in (76.5 x 101.9cm) (Painted on January 1, 1900.)

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Lot 14
Theodore Earl Butler
(1861-1936)
Brooklyn Bridge, New York 30 1/8 x 40 1/8in (76.5 x 101.9cm)

Sold for US$ 31,562 inc. premium

American Art

24 Nov 2020, 16:00 EST

New York

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ART GIVERNY
Theodore Earl Butler (1861-1936)
Brooklyn Bridge, New York
signed and dated 'T. E. Butler '00' (lower left)
oil on canvas
30 1/8 x 40 1/8in (76.5 x 101.9cm)
Painted on January 1, 1900.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    Estate of the above.
    By descent through the Butler Hoschedé Monet family to the present owner.

    Exhibited
    (possibly) New York, Durand-Ruel Gallery, March 1900.

    Literature
    (possibly) "The Week in Art.," The New York Times, March 10, 1900, vol. XLIX, no. 15,653, p. 155.

    This painting will be included in Patrick Bertrand's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of Theodore Earl Butler. We are grateful for his assistance cataloging this lot.

    Following the death of his wife, Suzanne Hoschedé (1868-1899), Theodore Earl Butler traveled to the United States with his children Jimmy and Lilly, along with Suzanne's sister Marthe, to visit New York and be closer to his family in Columbus, Ohio. On September 16, 1899, Theodore Earl Butler and his family boarded the transatlantic liner La Touraine from Le Havre, France. Theodore Earl Butler and William Howard Hart (1863-13937) who traveled with them arrived in New York on Sunday September 24 and were greeted by Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931) and Henry Prellwitz (1865-1940). When they docked in New York, he was met with a city that had dramatically grown in energy and size from when he last lived there a decade prior. New York had become crowded from heavy immigration, new buildings took over the city skyline, and its streets were filled with horses, carriages, trolley cars, merchants and masses of people. The exciting fresh subjects and designs that Theodore Earl Butler encountered when he arrived inspired him to sketch and paint the energetic cityscape around him.

    A rare work in Theodore Earl Butler's oeuvre completed right at the turn of the century, Brooklyn Bridge, New York was painted from a rooftop to capture a complete panorama of the city and shore. He masterfully depicts fog and smoke permeating through the landscape, veiling the architectural features of the buildings and the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance to create a unique impressionistic rendering of New York and of one of the city's most iconic landmarks. By utilizing a soft color palette, Theodore Earl Butler masterfully visualizes the chilled air coming off the East River and the sensation of the thick fog and mist that rests over the buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the East River. Unlike his soft and organic views of Giverny, his depiction of New York is characterized by angles, edges, and lines from the predominantly man-made geometric structures that make up the city's landscape. His use of bold lines and curves in the present work allow for the structures to prominently present themselves through the thick haze surrounding them. He even implements strong vertical strokes to indicate the masts and riggings of the ships docked at the piers. In Brooklyn Bridge, New York, Theodore Earl Butler has created a harmonious arrangement of forms, lines, and abstract masses in a soft, colorful and luminous atmosphere.

    In March of 1900, Theodore Earl Butler exhibited his works alongside those of Claude Monet (1840-1926) at Durand-Ruel Gallery in New York. During this time, Claude Monet was in London painting the Charing Cross Bridge. Only three of his paintings exhibited bore the title East River and at least one bore the title Brooklyn Bridge. Though there are no known existing photographs or illustrations of the installation for this exhibit, it is very likely that the present work was included in this exhibition. A review of the show by The New York Times remarked "Theodore E. Butler, who is the step son of Claude Monet, the French impressionist master, has now on exhibition some thirty six canvases, for the most part French landscapes, but which includes two studies of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, and three of New York's East river waterfront. Of his remaining canvases, the best are those painted in the city. A view of the Brooklyn bridge in a snow storm, from the east river is also good and truthful." ("The Week in Art.," The New York Times, March 10, 1900, vol. XLIX, no. 15,653, Saturday Review of Books and Art., p. 155)

    Theodore Earl Butler and his family set sail in the late-spring of 1900 to return to France. In October of that year, Theodore and Marthe married as many of their close companions expected them to. Although he only spent about six months back in the United States, the inspiration and vivacious energy of the growing nation that Theodore Earl Butler observed at the turn of the century made an everlasting impression and his output from this brief period of time is still celebrated by his admirers today.
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