American, (1854-1932)
Murmuring Brook
oil on canvas
signed lower left "W.L. Palmer"

oil on canvas
40 x 30 inches

  • Provenance: James M. Hansen Galleries, Santa Barbara, California; Private Collection, Beverly Hills, California; Bonham's, New York, New York, November 30, 2010, lot 18 (as Stream in Winter); Private Collection, New York.
  • Literature: Maybelle Mann, "Walter Launt Palmer: Poetic Reality," (Exton, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, Co., 1984), cat. no. 1003, p. 160 (illus.).
    Walter Launt Palmer was already thirty-four years old when he painted his first winter masterpiece, January, which he exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1887. The work earned him the notable Hallgarten Prize and led to his election as an associate of the Academy.1

    The cool, reaching blue shadows of the winter scenes that he painted almost exclusively thereafter were a considerable departure from the cozy, decorative interiors and sun-drenched Venetian scenes created earlier in his career. Still, Palmer's winter views, tempered by greens, yellows, and pinks scattered across the snow, are often as warm and intimate as his previous work.

    Such is the case with Murmuring Brook. The trees alongside the stream create a cloistered affect, while the bright pinks, blues, and yellows highlight the effect light on the snow and come together to form the dense, ultra-white of the heavy snow. The snow appears heavy as it would in the early hours of a winter thaw. The composition and approach are textbook Palmer, however the execution remains extraordinary—the stream shines and the snow is pearlescent.

    Palmer's legacy as a winter painter has somewhat obscured his origins as a conventionally trained and versatile artist. The son of the sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer, Walter grew up in an arts minded environment in Albany where painters such as John F. Kensett, Jervis McEntee, and Frederick Edwin Church visited. Palmer later studied with Church, who praised his work regularly and remained a life-long friend.2 He counted William Merritt Chase and John Singer Sargent among his close associates.

    Palmer won numerous prizes throughout his career, including gold medals at the annual exhibitions of the Philadelphia Art Club and the Boston Art Club in 1894 and 1895, respectively. In 1907 he won the silver medal at the Philadelphia Art Club for a work titled November Snow. In 1921, his painting, Silent Dawn, was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.3
    1 John Tarantine, Walter Launt Palmer (1854-1932), exhib. cat. (Youngstown: Butler Institute of Art, 1988), p. 3.
    2 Ibid.
    3 Mabel Mann, Walter Launt Palmer: Poetic Reality, (Exton, Pennsylvania: Schiffer, 1984), p. 176.
    Framed dimensions: 52 x 41 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches

    Tags: Winter scene, listed artist, landscape, snow, oil painting
  • Condition: unlined canvas, overall excellent condtition, on a very coarse canvas, no restoration apparent under UV, in a superior quality reproduction frame
    Condition Report Note:
    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE. Thank you for your interest in our sale.

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October 28, 2021 6:00 PM EDT
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