Daniel Garber (American, 1880–1958), , The Last of Winter
Daniel Garber (American, 1880–1958), , The Last of Winter
Daniel Garber (American, 1880–1958)
The Last of Winter
Signed and dated 'DANIEL GARBER 1912' bottom left, oil on canvas
42 x 42 in. (106.7 x 106.7cm).
Executed in February 1912, repainted after 1913.
In its original frame.
Acquired directly from the above through E.J. Halow, Reading, Pennsylvania.
Thomas Ferguson, Grand Rapids, Michigan, circa 1915.
Young's Galleries, Chicago, Illinois, by 1952.
Acquired directly from the above in June 1952
Collection of Harold D. Saylor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
By descent in the family.
Private Collection, Pennsylvania.
"Sixteenth Annual Exhibition at the Carnegie Institute," Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 25-June 30, 1912, no. 115.
"Seventh Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists," Saint Louis Museum of Fine Arts (now the Saint Louis Art Museum), Saint Louis, Missouri, September 1912, no. 44.
"Twenty-fifth Annual Exhibition of American Oil Paintings and Sculpture," The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, November 5-December 8, 1912, no. 96.
"One Hundred-and-Eighth Annual Exhibition," Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 9-March 30, 1913, no. 602.
"Twentieth Annual Exhibition of American Art," Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 24-July 26, 1913, no. 13 (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue).
"Thirty Paintings by Thirty Artists," Macbeth Gallery, New York, New York, November 11-24, 1913, no. 12.
"Fifth Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, Under the Auspices of the Charcoal Club and the Peabody Institute," Peabody Institute Galleries, Baltimore, Maryland, February 9-March 8, 1915, no. 58.
"Fifth Art Exhibition, Paintings and Sculpture," West Chester State Norman School (now West Chester University), Wester Chester, Pennsylvania, January 8-26, 1915, no. 15.
"Exhibition of Paintings from the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1915, and a Group of Chinese Water Colors [sic] by Harriet Barnes Thayer," Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, March 10-April 6, 1915, no. 45.
Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, February 1915.
"The Private Eye: A Salute to Philadelphia Collectors," Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Summer 1979, no no.
Artist's Record Book, I, p. 10, lines 31-35.
Artist's Record Book, II, p. 80.
Dr. Clark, unidentified article fragment in Washington Observer.
"Thirty American Artists Exhibit Thirty Paintings: 'Autumn Landscape,' by Mr. Albert P. Ryder, Attracts Particular Attention," [New York newspaper], 1913.
The Guilder (pseudonym), "Palette and Brush: Resurrection Angels are Needed in Philadelphia," in Town Topics 69, no. 7 (February 13, 1913): 20.
Charles Henry Dorr, "Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy," in Town & Country, 67, no. 50 (February 22, 1913): 60.
"Layman's View of Academy Pictures: A Pleasurable Way to View and Exhibition of Words of Art," in Public Ledger, March 2, 1913.
"Studio-Talk," in International Studio, 49, no. 195 (May 1913): 251.
New York Times, unidentified article fragment, 1914.
"Letter of Harold D. Saylor to Daniel Garber," November 13, 1952 in Artist's Letter File,.
Lance Humphries, Daniel Garber: Catalogue Raisonné, Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, 2006, Vol. II, cat. P 294, p. 96 (illustrated).
The Last of Winter is one of Daniel Garber’s most impressive and daring landscapes. Executed in Addingham (along Cobb’s Creek) during the last days of February 1912, it bears strong resemblance to Wilderness, another pivotal work that Garber completed just one month later along the banks of the Delaware River. Both paintings speak to the artist’s ongoing fascination for the theme of graceful, highly decorative vine-covered trees, which Garber generally liked to set against clear blue skies, and render in large-scale, making them feel even more impressive.
The present work features two elegant thatched-roof cottages in the middle of a once-lush landscape. Both are viewed from a rather low, close-up vantage point, which accentuates the sense of immediacy of the scene. Set on a hilltop, the house on the right occupies the center stage. It appears to be the main focus of the composition, our eye inevitably attracted to the shiny white façade reflecting the sun. Despite the starkness of the season, and bare trees, the house feels entirely immersed in the landscape, almost overtaken by layers of vines tangled on the rooftop, and blending in with those surrounding it. As Lance Humphries points out in the Artist's Catalogue Raisonné: “Executed with the appearance of painstaking detail the vines dripping from the trees are in fact quite broadly painted – evident on close examination – revealing that Garber’s ability to shape forms through the use of light, shadow and color was by this early date masterful." The curly vines in fact suggest the near resurgence of spring, an incoming burst of life which will soon take over the scene. As the artist recalled in a letter addressed to Harold D. Saylor, dated October 31, 1952: “I called it The Last of Winter feeling that it, somewhat, expressed just that. I remember the days were warm and hazy and there was a feeling that spring was not so far away.”
The landscape is not completely uninhabited —a rarity in Garber’s oeuvre— and features a small boy carrying a basket. His back presented to the viewer, the boy seems oblivious to us. He stands by the staircase, almost hidden in the shadows, ready to go back home where his family most likely awaits him. Sometime after 1913, to please his gallery dealers, the artist repainted the canvas and made the figure of the boy even more prominent by removing that of an older woman, originally placed to his left-hand side, near the stairs. The work gained in simplicity, withdrawing the viewer’s attention from the anecdotal presence of a large figure, to focus more on the intricate pattern of vines silhouetted against the sky – the true tour de force of the painting. In a commentary of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art’s 108th Annual Exhibition, the reviewer noted: "On another wall there is a landscape with what dealers call ‘quality.’ It looks at once rich and juicy in color and dramatic in feeling, the bare trees against the sky excite my interest, the fuzzy white house and the brown shrubbery in the foreground make me feel that here I have discovered without the catalogue the first big picture of the show."
The present work will be accompanied by an original letter from Daniel Garber to Harold D. Saylor commenting the work, dated October 31, 1952.