October 13, 2013


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Lot 320: Russell Cowles

Lot 320: Russell Cowles


Oil on canvas

Signed "Cowles" lower left; retains Dalzell Hatfield Galleries label verso

Canvas: 35.5" x 28"; Frame: 43" x 35"

Together with photograph by Dalzell Hatfield of the artist

Provenance: The Estate of Ruth and Dalzell Hatfield, Los Angeles, California;
Thence by descent

Exhibited: "Russell Cowles," Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, Los Angeles, 1946

Literature: Bear, Donald. Russell Cowles. Los Angeles: Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, 1946. np.

Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Price Realized: $3,000
Inventory Id: 8358

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Equipped with the discipline of a scholar and a vast painting vocabulary, American painter Russell Cowles (1887-1979) produced brilliant landscapes in oil and watercolor. Originally from Iowa, Cowles studied painting in Paris and Rome, and upon returning to the United States in 1920, he exhibited his work at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Cowles had a deep respect for the French masters Cézanne and Gauguin, though he filtered what he learned in Europe through a modern intelligence for color and form. Eager to expand his artistic knowledge, he traveled to Asia where he studied traditional Chinese painting with a Chinese master, and in Bali, he experimented with semi-abstract compositions. He eventually settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he completed some landscapes of the Southwest, "painted with a profound appreciation of the exciting architectural aspects and exhilarating color of the country itself." Wherever he traveled, Cowles demonstrated his technical prowess combined with patience for the subject: "When an artist sees something he wants to paint, his first step should be to look – to look long and sensitively – to feel what nature has to say." The painting Nova Scotia Morning (1948), which was featured in the 1948 issue of LIFE magazine, portrays the daily routine of vacationers and locals, rendered in the delicate and capricious light of the eastern seaboard.

Bear, Donald. Russell Cowles. Los Angeles: Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, 1946. Print.
Bear, Donald. Russell Cowles. Los Angeles: Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, n.d. Print.
"Russell Cowles." LIFE. 9 Feb. 1948: 74-78. Print.