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Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 5,000
EMILE BRANCHARD (1881-1938)
At the Lake. Oil on canvas. 915x610 mm; 36x24 inches. Signed in oil, lower left recto. Circa 1930-37.
Exhibited: Beth Urdang Gallery, Wellesley, Massachusetts, with the label on the frame back.
Branchard was born in Greenwich Village and lived in a boarding house in the area that was run by his mother and catered to artists. Before becoming an artist, he worked as a stevedore, truck driver, and policeman on the Home Defense Fund during World War I. He contracted tuberculosis early in his career, and confined to his home for long periods, began to paint. A self-taught artist, his only exposure to art had been during his childhood when he used to watch his stepfather paint. A fellow boarder saw Branchard's work and helped get his paintings into the "Society of Independent Artists Exhibition" of 1919 where they were appreciated by the critic and art dealer Stephan Bourgeois. This led to further exhibitions, including at the Marie Harriman Gallery and The MoMA's "Masters of Popular Painting" show in 1938. His style, marked by flat forms with subtle, undulating contours, recalls Symbolist abstraction and the Precisionist artists working in New York during the 1920s and 1930s.