Ever So Faithful: The Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes of Edward L. Custer (1837-1881)

Hawthorne Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of its upcoming exhibition, Ever So Faithful: The Pre-Raphaelite Landscapes of Edward Custer (1837-1881). Featuring a diverse group of newly-acquired works by the artist, the exhibition seeks to examine the work of this American painter with a focus on his highly detailed landscapes. The paintings on view span his career: beginning with early works executed in his hometown of Manchester, New Hampshire; to his years spent abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Italy; to his time spent in Boston as a successful portrait painter.

Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), River Valley, New Hampshire, Oil on canvas, 12 x 15 1/8 inches, Signed at lower left, inscribed with title on stretcher, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), River Valley, New Hampshire, Oil on canvas, 12 x 15 1/8 inches, Signed at lower left, inscribed with title on stretcher, Hawthorne Fine Art

Ever so Faithful is not only the first solo exhibition of Edward L. Custer’s works, but it is also one of the first exhibits to introduce a new voice of the Pre-Raphaelite movement in America. The botanical accuracy of native flora in the artist’s mountain vistas and distant city panoramas recalls the draftsmanship of such artists as Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)—exemplified in such works as Burdock Plants Beside a Fence.

Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), Burdock Plants Beside a Fence, Oil on board, 6 ¼ x 10 ½ inches, Signed at lower left, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), Burdock Plants Beside a Fence, Oil on board, 6 ¼ x 10 ½ inches, Signed at lower left, Hawthorne Fine Art

Featured most predominantly in the exhibition are Custer’s enriched scenes of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, as well as oil paintings of his summer sketching trips to Italy. While Custer’s landscape views of Albano are a testament to his European training and development as a painter, his New England scenes—such as Waterfall on Mill Brook; River Valley, NH; and Coastal Landscape—convey his finely attuned skill in rendering the American landscape with a penetrating realism befitting of the American Pre-Raphaelite painters. The group, which emerged in the early 1860s to champion site-specific documentation and truthfulness in representation, cultivated a hybridity of still life and landscape that stylistically distinguished them from the American artists of the previous half-century, as well as their English counterparts.

Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), Waterfall on Mill Brook, NH, Oil on canvas, 13 ¼ x 10 5/8 inches, Signed and titled verso, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), Waterfall on Mill Brook, NH, Oil on canvas, 13 ¼ x 10 5/8 inches, Signed and titled verso, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), New England Coastal Landscape, Oil on canvas, 10 ¾ x 16 1/8 inches, Signed at lower right, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), New England Coastal Landscape, Oil on canvas, 10 ¾ x 16 1/8 inches, Signed at lower right, Hawthorne Fine Art

Speaking of the exhibition, Managing Partner Jennifer Krieger says, “These paintings come from the collection of one gentleman who admired the fine detail of Custer’s landscapes and searched for decades throughout New England to find the artist’s rare works. Each piece is rendered with an uncompromising fidelity to nature and a very patient hand in depicting the White Mountains of New Hampshire as well as scenes of Italy and Switzerland. We are delighted to have come upon them and to shine a light on Custer’s great talent.”

Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), The Old Gate, Albano, Italy, Oil on canvas, 15 1/8 x 12 1/8 inches, Signed at lower left, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), The Old Gate, Albano, Italy, Oil on canvas, 15 1/8 x 12 1/8 inches, Signed at lower left, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), Italian Villa with View Toward Albano, Oil on canvas mounted to board, 6 3/8 x 15 ½ inches, Signed at lower right, Hawthorne Fine Art
Edward L. Custer (1837-1881), Italian Villa with View Toward Albano, Oil on canvas mounted to board, 6 3/8 x 15 ½ inches, Signed at lower right, Hawthorne Fine Art

Ever So Faithful will be on view from May 1st through May 30th, 2015, by appointment only. For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact the gallery at info@hawthornefineart.com, or by phone at 212.731.0550

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