Apr 27, 2017 - Sale 2444

Sale 2444 - Lot 54

Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
PRELIMINARY STUDY FOR A CLASSIC ARCTIC PAINTING (ARCTIC.) Stokes, Frank Wilbert. The Departure of the Norge for the North Pole from King's Bay, Spitsbergen, 80th North Lat. Oil on board, 12 x 16 inches, initialed in lower left; a bit worn at lower corners. Np, May 1926

Additional Details

Frank Wilbert Stokes (1858-1955) was an American painter best known for his work accompanying several polar expeditions from 1886 to 1926, concluding with his work with the Amundsen-Ellsworth Expedition. The explorers crossed over the North Pole by airship, and are often regarded as the first to reach the pole. Stokes saw them off from the island of Spitsbergen on 11 May 1926. This painting was done from his original Spitsbergen sketches, as explained in a note on the verso of the painting: "Composition sketch . . . made from studies painted in the open at Spitsbergen, member of Amundsen Ellsworth Ex., 1926." The final painting (for which this is a preliminary study) remains one of Stokes's best-known works.
with--a small group of related papers, including: an exhibition guide, "Arctic and Antarctic Paintings by Frank Wilbert Stokes, 1925 Letter Signed from Richard E. Byrd to Stokes: "Many, many thanks for your letter and good wishes. I am deeply grateful for it." Roosevelt Field, NY, 22 June 1927 Retained draft of a longer letter from Stokes to Byrd, encouraging Byrd to sell paintings to help outfit his expedition. New York, 29 September 1933 Two 8 x 10-inch photographs of an artist (apparently Stokes) at work late in life, uncaptioned and undated 21 early photostat copies of letters to Stokes (including some duplicates), many of them from Byrd or Adolphus Greely, from originals dated 1917-34. Of particular interest is a copy of a 22 November 1926 letter from Byrd reading in part "I will certainly drop in and see the 'Departure of the Norge for the Pole.' Mr. Ellsworth should see it, and I am sure will be keenly interested in it."