Watercolor and pencil on paper, 1924. 457x303 mm; 18x11 7/8 inches. Signed and dated in pencil, lower recto, and with an additional watercolor study, verso.
Provenance: Margaret V. and Samuel A. Lewisohn, New York; thence by descent to current owner, private collection, New York.
Demuth (1883-1935) was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and suffered an injury as a child that forced him to walk with a cane. As he was unable to be as physically active as other children, his mother gave him crayons to draw with. His parents supported his art from a young age and he attended Franklin and Marshall College, Drexel University and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia. After leaving school, he focused on his preferred medium of watercolor and found inspiration in flowers and plants in his mother's garden, a subject that would preoccupy him throughout his life.
Demuth made his studio at his home in Lancaster, but traveled frequently and made many important friends in the artistic community. He traveled three times to Paris where he studied at the Académie Colarossi and Académie Julian, joined the avant-garde artistic scene, and admired the work of European modernists, even spending time at Gertrude Stein's salon. He met Marsden Hartley while in Paris who later introduced him to Alfred Stieglitz and became part of his tightknit group of artists.
While well-traveled, most of his work was created in his studio in Lancaster. Demuth eventually embraced a Precisionist style, focusing on geometric forms and industrial subject matter. He also returned to flowers, plants and vegetables consistently throughout his career, focusing with technical virtuosity and deft handling on their color and form.