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Thomas Chambers (1808-1869)

Thomas Chambers (1808-1869)


American, New York/Massachusetts, ca. 1843-1860
Undercliff, Near Coldspring
Oil on canvas
22” x 30”; 26 1/2” x 34 3/4” (framed)
Condition: Excellent, virtually untouched. In a period gilt frame.
Provenance: Privat collection, Connecticut; Fred Giampietro; Northeast Auction, late 1990’s.
Chambers’ flat modeling, high palette, and distorted shapes gave his American Scene paintings a curiously modern look that positioned him perfectly to skyrocket to popularity as the first modern in the postmodern age, when his work was discovered in the 1940s; a point at which classic Hudson River landscapes were being eschewed for pieces with more abstract, surrealistic, or expressionistic elements.
The earliest Chambers works to be discovered were views of Undercliff, which when exhibited were praised by critics as ”primitive” and executed with ”control of what may well ve an American idiom, a healthy and happy combination of an inborn and developed sense of design with a true love of native landscapes.” Primitive was at the time considered the highest form of praise; indicating sincerity, authenticity, and free of stale conventions and lies.

Item ID: WoA-AMP-OC 589

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