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CHARLES MORGAN MCILHENNEY
Summer Afternoon by the Shore
oil on canvas, signed lower right "C. Morgan McIlhenney"
14 x 26 3/4 inches
Provenance: Sotheby's, New York, New York, September 24, 1992, lot 49; Private Collection, Connecticut.
Exhibitions: The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, "Innocence," June 25th - September 18, 2005.
Compared to his contemporaries, Charles Morgan McIlhenney had a modest output and died at only 46 years old. He worked tirelessly to perfect his canvases. In the 1905 sale of his estate, fellow artist Arthur Hoeber notes, "he was his own most severe critic and always insisted on the highest standards for his work, scraping, repainting, studying, rearranging until he felt he had exhausted every means to produce the final result."
In addition to Hoeber, Hamilton Hamilton is listed as the executor of McIlhenney's estate. His friendship with these two prominent artists at the time of his premature death, indicate McIlhenney was on the path to achieve the success of his contemporaries. In 1892 he received the William T. Evans prize in the exhibition of the American Watercolor Society in Philadelphia and in 1893 he was awarded the first Hallgarten prize at the National Academy of Design. He exhibited regularly at the at the N.A.D. from 1882-1896. His paintings received recognition in the Paris Exposition and at the Pan American show.
The example offered here, Summer Afternoon by the Shore, is a rare masterpiece quality painting. The three children lay in the sand tired from the sun and play. With bare feet and soft smiles this scene captures a relaxed moment. The youngest of the group is pictured building a sandcastle as the sand slips through the tiny hand, the young girl enjoys the feeling of the sand on her feet and hands while the young boy looks at directly at the viewer too tired to play but not yet ready to leave.
Hoeber described patrons of McIlhenney, "…this convincing sincerity, in the natural course of events, brought him influential and intelligent patronage, his pictures going to important collections where they were appreciated at their full worth. He was not prolific, however, working with almost exasperating deliberation, making many preliminary experiments before definitely settling on his composition."
McIlhenney was born in Philadelphia where he attended the local public schools. He studied with Frank Briscoe and studied anatomy at the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts. He also participated in a sketching tour in the South Pacific from 1878-1881. When he returned, he settled in New York where he quickly attained success as a mature artist.
McIlhenney's works are included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Harvard Art Museums.
tags: oil painting, children, beach scene, seascape / coastal / marine, 19th century
Condition: Canvas: Lined
Condition: Very Good
Restoration: Very Minor
scattered restoration upper left
Framed dimensions - 26 5/8 x 39 x 4 1/2 inches
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