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Theodore Dillaway (American, 1874-1953), "Primeval Forest", oil on canvas, signed, 20th century

Theodore Dillaway (American, 1874-1953), "Primeval Forest", oil on canvas, signed, 20th century

Item Description:

Signed lower right "T.M. Dillaway", inscribed and titled on reverse stretcher bar "Primeval Forest Miscotta River Main" (sic), framed

Note: This may be a depiction of the Damariscotta River in Maine, a 19 mile long tidal river that empties into the Atlantic Ocean.


Appears fine. Please contact for specific condition questions. Not examined out of the frame. Lofty does not guarantee the condition or authenticity of frames..


Private collection


Sight: Height 25 in. x Width 30 in.

Frame: Height 29.5 in. x Width 33.4 in.

About The Artist:

Theodore Dillaway was an American painter born in 1874 in Boston, Massachusetts. Though known for his landscape paintings, Dillaway was also a popular educator in the Northeast and an accomplished musician. He studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and in Paris, France at the Delacluse Academy.

Dillaway started his career as the supervisor of drawing in the public schools of Buffalo, New York. In 1910, he moved to Boston to fill the position of director of drawing and manual training for the city's schools. Dillaway participated in the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a flutist and also gave performances in Buffalo, where he still had many friends. Dillaway remained at his post until the early 1920s, when he became the superintendent of art in the public schools of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he would remain until at least 1939. Throughout his career in education administration, Dillaway painted and exhibited his landscape paintings.

The artist held the staunch belief in timeless beauty that lasts throughout the history of art. In a 1939 article, Dillaway told students, ''The bizarre, the ugly, even the horrible, may excite the public imagination and interest for a time, through its newness and oddness. But inevitably, they pass away, and again emerge the old standards of eternal beauty.''

Dillaway became a controversial figure when he became an adversary of Albert C. Barnes, a prominent Pennsylvania collector with a fine collection of Modern Art in the United States. The Barnes Foundation was an educational institution for the appreciation of the fine arts in Merion, Pennsylvania. Dillaway was convinced that Barnes, through promoting modern art theories, would also convert students to anarchism and that they would only acquire an appreciation for so called bad art. Barnes publicly denounced Dillaway's system in his broadside entitled ''The Shame in the Public Schools of Philadelphia'' in the first Journal of the Barnes Foundation in 1925. Barnes called Philadelphia's educational system ''obsolete'' and ''not guided by intelligent purpose''. He claimed that these problems were caused by Dillaway's opinions and policies.

Despite Dillaway's polarizing character, his landscape painting of a New England Primeval Forest is very agreeable. Dillaway's delicate rendering of light filtering through the trees to the forest floor below recalls the work of the Impressionists, who used broad, loose brushwork to capture the natural effects of light. Dillaway used local, or true to life color to accurately represent the environment of the wooded landscape.


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SKU: 01tj0000002eYpOAAU

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Theodore Dillaway (American, 1874-1953), "Primeval Forest", oil on canvas, signed, 20th century

Listed price: $4,000.00

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