George Jacob Beck 1748-1812
- George Jacob Beck
- McCall's Ferry on the Susquehannah and Schuykill Below the Falls: Two works
- watercolor on paper
- each 13 1/2 in. by 18 3/4 in.
- 34.3 cm by 47.6 cm
Private Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York
The Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York, Reality, Romanticism, Realism, December 1967, number 254
"Reality, Romanticism, Realism", The Kennedy Quarterly, December 1967, page 242, number 254.
"George Beck, An Eighteenth Century Painter" by Edna Talbott Whitley, The Register, Kentucky Historical Society, January 1969, page 36, footnote 58.
"Reality, Romanticism, Realism", The Kennedy Quarterly, December 1967, page 243.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
George Jacob Beck (1748-50-1812), listed as a portrait painter in the 1806 Lexington, Kentucky directory, was better known for his landscapes which unquestionably contributed to the popularity of American views. Born at Ellford, England, Beck was the youngest son of a Staffordshire farmer. In 1795 he set forth for America, landing in Norfolk, Virginia. He lived successfully in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Ohio and ultimately, around 1804/5, in Lexington where he died on December 14, 1812.
"Among all the foreign-trained who came here in the Federal era, George Beck had the most substantial and the best mastered landscape style...Beck's superiority in craft enabled him to render the rocks with a strength sufficient to withstand the turbulent rush and falling weight of water...[and] to construct the forms of rock and tree, to give the solidity of earth, and even...to modulate values toward a distant horizon." (Excerpted from: Virgil Barker, American Painting, The MacMillan Co., New York, 1950, page 290)
During the 18th century, ferry boats were a popular means of transversing rivers. The ferries charged for the trip which connected the shores of the river, usually at the closest points. McCalls Ferry crossed the Susquehannah River with both people and cattle, probably in Pennsylvania, in the Appalachian country.