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Estimate: $ 7,000 - $ 10,000
JOHN APPLETON BROWN Celia Thaxter's Garden and View of the Sea, Appledore, Isle of Shoals.
Color pastels on illustration board, circa 1890. 455x553 mm; 18x22 inches. Signed in pastel, lower right recto.
Ex-collection Daniel Seitz Estate, New Jersey (a descendant of Robert Hartshorne, see lots 20 through 21); thence by descent to the current owner, private collection, New Jersey.
Brown (1844-1902) grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts, but traveled to Paris to study with the masters in the Barbizon school, notably Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) and Charles-François Daubigny (1817-1878). He moved to Boston in 1875 and became friends with fellow artist William Morris Hunt (1824-1879).
Known for his Barbizon-esque landscape scenes, he spent summers on the Isle of Shoals off the coast of Maine at the Appledore Hotel. It was a retreat for many important artists and writers at the time, including Hunt, Nathanial Hawthorne (1804-1864), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1883) and Childe Hassam (1859-1935, see lots 20 and 21).
Their host was Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), the American poet and author, who was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, ten miles west of the islands, and whose father (who became the lighthouse keeper on White Island in the Isles of Shoals) built the Appledore. The unspoiled, natural landscape on the island was a tremendous appeal to the artists who spent time there during summer months.
Hassam's Sailboat off the Coast, Isle of Shoals, watercolor, 1894 (see lot 20), represents a sailboat idling off the Appledore coast at sunset and A Shady Spot, watercolor, 1892 (see lot 21), is the view from the hotel's flower-covered porch. Brown's work depicts Thaxter's garden, whose vivid floral displays inspired many of the artists who visited, which she immortalized in the volume An Island Garden, 1894 (illustrated by Hassam).
The current work by Brown incorporates the same vantage-point of the garden, with the view of bleached Babb's Rock and the Atlantic coastline in the distance, as Hassam's oil painting Celia Thaxter's Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine, 1890, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.