Lot 43
  • 43

George Copeland Ault 1891 - 1948

Estimate
250,000 - 350,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • George Copeland Ault
  • Daylight at Russell's Corners
  • signed G.C. Ault and dated 44 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 18 1/8 by 28 1/8 inches
  • (46 by 71.4 cm)

Provenance

Rudolph Galleries, Woodstock, New York
Private Collection, Davis, California
Sold: Christie's, New York, March 14, 1991, lot 213, illustrated
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection, New Jersey, 1992 (acquired from the above)
Private Collection, New York
Sold: Christie's, New York, December 5, 2002, lot 139, illustrated
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale

Exhibited

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, George Ault, April-June 1988
Washington, D.C., Smithsonian American Art Museum; Kansas City, Missouri, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Athens, Georgia, Georgia Museum of Art, To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America, March 2011-April 2012, p. 94, illustrated fig. 58, p. 95

Literature

Louise Ault, Artist in Woodstock, George Ault: The Independent Years, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1978

Catalogue Note

George Copeland Ault moved to New York City from England in 1911 and soon after began painting urban cityscapes in a precisionist style. While his reductive aesthetic and highly controlled manner of execution is often associated with artists like Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford, Ault did not observe beauty in the effects of industrialization and the growth of the American city, once referring to New York City as “the Inferno without the fire.” In 1937 Ault moved with his wife, Louise, to Woodstock, New York where they avoided the artist’s community and instead lived modestly in solitude. The stark and figureless rural scenes he produced during this period attest not only to this reclusiveness but also to the preservationist conviction present in much of Ault’s body of work.

Ault executed five versions of the well-known Woodstock location known as Russell’s Corners between 1943 and 1948, using the location to explore relationships between geometric forms and linear patterns as both time and the seasons changed. Only a quarter mile from his studio, Russell’s Corners held a special intimacy for Ault and played a significant role in his artistic career. The present work is the only version depicting the agrarian scene in the daylight. Unlike the other nocturnal versions, Daylight at Russell’s Corners allowed Ault to depict the locale in heightened detail.  The rich red hues of the barn contrast sharply against the stark tones of gray, as do the telephone poles and bare tree jutting out from the snow. The figureless scene powerfully evokes a sense of desolation and mystery that speaks to Ault’s interest in the work of Giorgio de Chirico and the Surrealists, with whom he began to engage during the mature period of his career.

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