Oct 18, 2012 - Sale 2290

Sale 2290 - Lot 6

Price Realized: $ 13,200
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
Eagle's Nest, Yellowstone.

Oil on canvas, 1890-91. 762x508 mm; 30x20 inches. Signed and dated "'91" in oil, lower right recto. Inscribed "The Eagle's Nest, Grand Canyon of the Yellow Stone National Park, August 14, 1890, From Hayden Point" in pencil, verso.

Provenance: private California collection; private collection.

This impressive and colorful landscape by Grafton Tyler Brown, the first African-American painter active in the American West, is representative of his work around Yellowstone National Park. Brown was born in Harrisburg, PA to a family of freed slaves from Maryland; the family moved to San Francisco in 1855. Brown worked for the lithography firm of Kuchel & Dresel, where he specialized in drawing maps and bird's-eye views of cities and towns in Nevada and California. After the owners' death, Brown purchased the firm, renaming it G.T. Brown & Co, but he sold the business in 1879 in order to devote his time to painting. He moved to Victoria, BC, joining the Canadian government's geological survey of the Cascade Mountains and exhibiting his works there in 1883. The following year he moved again, this time to Washington, where he frequently painted Mt. Rainier. From 1886 to 1889, the artist had a studio and home in Portland, OR, where he was a member of the Portland Art Club. But by 1892, Brown was on the move again, relocating to St. Paul, MN, where he remained until his death in 1918--no paintings by him have been found from this period. Today, his paintings are in the collections of museums throughout the United States, and are valued for their documentation of the Western wilderness.

Eagle's Nest is recorded in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's "Inventory of American Paintings Executed Before 1914."