A Joy Forever: Holiday Gift Suggestions from Hawthorne Fine Art, December 3, 2014–January 30, 2015

Dawson-White Water Lily crop

“George Walter Dawson to Amy & Thornton Oakley,” reads the inscription across the top of Dawson’s 1912 watercolor, White Water Lily. At first glance the inscription is a fairly innocuous textual anomaly: an addition made by the artist on the occasion of the painting’s transfer to his friends, the Oakleys. Yet, when one pauses to consider the sentiment behind this exchange—that White Water Lily had been a gift from Dawson to his friends—the painting takes on new meaning. Thornton and Amy Oakley were artists and book illustrators who most likely met George Walter Dawson through the Philadelphia Water Color Club. As they shared social circles, artistic inclinations, and mutual affinity for such a nuanced medium, the Oakleys no doubt saw the gesture implicit in Dawson’s meaningful gift. Beyond the painted surface of White Water Lily lies a heartfelt indication of friendship, endowing the work with a symbolic significance beyond its intrinsic value.

George Walter Dawson (1870—1938), White Water Lily, 1912, watercolor on paper, 10 x 10 inches, signed and dedicated by the artist in pencil: George Walter Dawson to Amy & Thornton Oakley. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
George Walter Dawson (1870—1938), White Water Lily, 1912, watercolor on paper, 10 x 10 inches, signed and dedicated by the artist in pencil: George Walter Dawson to Amy & Thornton Oakley. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.

Dawson was not the only nineteenth century artist to gift his paintings to friends, nor was he the only one to inscribe them so. Many nineteenth century American artists engaged in this artistic exchange with friends and family on notable occasions—such as marriages, births—or, sometimes (and perhaps most sweetly) for no particular reason at all. Hudson River School artists, in particular, exercised an artistic practice so detailed, nuanced and full of grace that their gifted paintings carry not only the sentiment with which they were given, but also the weight of their ultimate devotion to the craft. Wrought as they are with sentimental meaning, these gifted paintings are often passed down through the generations to become family heirlooms: truly, a joy forever.

Hawthorne Fine Art has brought together some of the finest works in its collection for an exhibition that celebrates the painting as gift. Whether it is with exaltation of America’s sublime beauty—as in Charles H. Chapin’s Waterfall in the Adirondacks, or Paul Weber’s Cattle Watering; in an homage to travel, such as John Williamson’s Venetian Sunset; or in the winter scenes by Douglas Arthur Teed and Frank S. Herrmann that capture the true spirit of the season, A Joy Forever highlights works especially fit for giving, as we invite you share a timeless painting with a loved one.

To view the exhibition, click here.

Charles H. Chapin (1830-1889), Waterfall in the Adirondacks, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 1/8 inches, signed lower right. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Charles H. Chapin (1830-1889), Waterfall in the Adirondacks, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 1/8 inches, signed lower right. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Paul Weber (1823—1916), Cattle Watering, oil on canvas, 6 3/8 x 12 ¾ inches, Signed lower left, Artist's gallery stamp verso. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Paul Weber (1823—1916), Cattle Watering, oil on canvas, 6 3/8 x 12 ¾ inches, Signed lower left, Artist’s gallery stamp verso. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
John Williamson (1826—1885), A Venetian Sunset, oil on board, 5 ½ x 7 ½ inches (oval), signed lower left. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
John Williamson (1826—1885), A Venetian Sunset, oil on board, 5 ½ x 7 ½ inches (oval), signed lower left. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Douglas Arthur Teed (1864—1929), Maple Sugar, 1883, Oil on canvas mounted on masonite, 7 7/8 x 10 3/16 inches, titled, signed and dated lower right: Maple Sugar, Teed, 83. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Douglas Arthur Teed (1864—1929), Maple Sugar, 1883, Oil on canvas mounted on masonite, 7 7/8 x 10 3/16 inches, titled, signed and dated lower right: Maple Sugar, Teed, 83. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Frank S. Herrmann (1866—1942), Union Square, ca. 1925, Gouache on cardboard, 12 ¼ x 15 ½ inches, signed lower right, inscribed lower left: Union Square—N.Y. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.
Frank S. Herrmann (1866—1942), Union Square, ca. 1925, Gouache on cardboard, 12 ¼ x 15 ½ inches, signed lower right, inscribed lower left: Union Square—N.Y. Collection of Hawthorne Fine Art.

Over 40 works priced at or under $7,500. Priced as marked.

All works subject to prior sale.

Hawthorne Fine Art is open by appointment and is located at 12 East 86th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. We welcome your visit and wish you joy this holiday season!

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