Theodore Van Soelen (1890-1964) Along the Acequia 28 1/8 x 36in framed 35 x 42in (Painted circa 1928.)

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Lot 20
Theodore Van Soelen
(1890-1964)
Along the Acequia 28 1/8 x 36in framed 35 x 42in

US$ 30,000 - 50,000
£ 22,000 - 36,000

Western Art

26 Feb 2021, 13:00 PST

Los Angeles

Theodore Van Soelen (1890-1964)
Along the Acequia
signed 'Van Soelen' (lower right), titled (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
28 1/8 x 36in
framed 35 x 42in
Painted circa 1928.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The Owings Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
    Private collection, New Mexico.

    For an artist so associated with the Southwest it may be surprising that Theodore Van Soelen began his life in St. Paul, Minnesota. His formal artistic training started at the St. Paul Institute of Arts and Sciences and subsequently he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Van Soelen, or "Solely", received a scholarship from the Academy allowing him to travel and take instruction in Europe for a year. This traditional training informed his realistic style. It was not long after his return from Europe that Van Soelen was encouraged to travel to the west. Like many who suffered from tuberculosis in the early part of the 20th century, he hoped the arid climate would relieve some of the symptoms.

    Van Soelen spent time in Utah and Nevada before settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1916. At this point he worked as an illustrator while at the same time was selling paintings. His curiosity and interest in the people and the landscape of the west led him to travel widely in the state. Ultimately, it was the picturesque life on the ranches that would become his favorite and most often revisited subject. By 1922 he settled with his wife Virginia Carr in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Van Soelen's final move was to the nearby village of Tesuque in 1926. In the 1930s Van Soelen was enjoying enough success to have a second studio in Connecticut closer to the audience for his work. In 1938 Van Soelen was commissioned to create a mural for the Post Office in Portales, New Mexico, titled Buffalo Range. Buffalo Range, one of the most well-known works by Van Soelen, shares the same signature elements present in Along the Acequia: a realistic portrayal of the landscape with a muted and unified palette.

    Along the Acequia refers to the irrigation channels overseen by communities in the region which make farming on these arid lands possible. Some of these acequias trace their roots to the Spanish conquistadors. Typically the vegetation along the acequia will be lush compared to the surroundings and Van Soelen captures this with saturated colors and darker hues in the plants adjacent to the water. The midground, background and even the sky are treated with a more subdued palette unifying the landscape behind the man-made verdant foreground.

    Along the Acequia was very likely executed in the Tesuque valley where Van Soelen lived. The artist places the adobe at the center of his painting and by using the same colors as the surrounding landscape, he portrays the dwelling as an intrinsic part of the land rather than an addition to the landscape. The composition is given additional cohesiveness by the repeated half round forms of the vegetation, the hills and the clouds in the distance. The dominant tree is an anthropomorphic form with arms raised looking at the adobe from the far side of the acequia. It seems as if Solely himself is in the composition as a perpetual stationary observer.
Contacts
Theodore Van Soelen (1890-1964) Along the Acequia 28 1/8 x 36in framed 35 x 42in (Painted circa 1928.)
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