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George William Sotter (American, 1879–1953), , The Neighbor's House

George William Sotter (American, 1879–1953), , The Neighbor's House

Item Description:

George William Sotter (American, 1879–1953)
The Neighbor's House
Signed and dated 'G.W. Sotter/-49-' bottom right, oil on Masonite
26 x 22 in. (66 x 55.9cm)
Private Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
By descent in the family.
Private Collection, New Jersey.
Although he started his career as an active stained glass artist in Pittsburgh, George Sotter is best known for his poetic winter nocturne scenes, in which he usually featured quaint hamlets or solitary houses blanketed in the snow, nearby a river or a forest, and bathed in a soothing moonlight. Few American artists painted night subjects as regularly as Sotter, who is said to have produced hundreds of works of that type. Contrary to James Abbott McNeill Whistler's nocturnes which were fundamentally loose and obscured abstract landscapes, Sotter's "moonlight paintings" aimed at a certain clarity and showed a sense of detail. In a way, they remained attached to a certain tradition, the artist continuing to base his approach on first-hand observation and plein-air painting. Such works generated incredible interest among the artist's collectors and critics, who cherished them for their romantic touch and deeper significance.
The present painting, along with the following two works were executed at the peak of Sotter's painting career, along a period of over ten years. Likely painted from nature, they are set nearby the artist's own home and studio in Holicong, Pennsylvania, amidst the "tranquil tenor, beautiful stone houses and rolling hills of Bucks County" - to which Sotter was first introduced in 1902 by fellow Pennsylvania Impressionist Edward Redfield, who took the artist under his wing and invited him to become his student at his home in Centre Bridge.
Moonlight in Yardley (Lot 76) and Autumn Nocturne (Lot 77) reveal the great influence of Edward Redfield's painting on Sotter's early work. In the first canvas, Sotter focuses on the pearlescent atmospheric tones of the night scene, which becomes imbued with a sense of mystery, and even melancholia. Instead, Autumn Nocturne is characterized by a thick impasto and quick impressionistic touch, which seems to echo the balancing shadows of the composition. With The Neighbor’s House (Lot 75), Sotter presents a more mature work. Executed almost a decade later, the painting gives way to a richer, darker palette that suggests a thicker, quieter night. The paint application is also more precise and polished. With its unusual vertical format, the painting stands out, and offers a dramatic bird’s view of the banks of the Delaware Valley. Conceived as an idyllic representation of his beloved Bucks County, the painting is most likely a composite of several, different views Sotter witnessed while roaming the ground in search for inspiration. Without much theatrical effect, the artist successfully makes the scene even more palpable and demonstrates the romanticism and the poetic force of a simple winter night subject.

$ 100,000.00 ( Low est. )
Lot 75 in American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists
AUCTION DATE: Dec 6, 2020 at 2:00pm EST



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