Lot 53
  • 53

Worthington Whittredge 1820 - 1910

250,000 - 350,000 USD
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  • Worthington Whittredge
  • The Pine Cone Gatherers
  • signed W. Whittredge and dated 1866 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 54 1/2 by 40 1/4 inches
  • (138.4 by 102.2 cm)


A.T. Sordoni, Pennsylvania
Auslew Gallery, Norfolk Virginia, circa 1967 (acquired from the above)
Adelson Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts
Museum Art Exchange, New York
Walter P. Chrysler, Norfolk, Virginia (acquired from the above)
The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia (gift from the above; sold Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, April 23, 1982, lot 38, illustrated)
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company (acquired from the above)
Acquired by the present owner from the above


Norfolk, Virginia, The Chrysler Museum of Art, The Hundred Years of American Art in The Chrysler Museum, 1976, p. 146, illustrated 
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Lines of Different Character: American Art from 1727-1947, November 1982-January 1983, no. 25, p. 39, illustrated 


Anthony Frederick Janson, The Paintings of Worthington Whittredge, Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1975, no. 3-48, pp. 89, 236
Adams Davidson Galleries, Quiet Places: The American Landscape of Worthington Whittredge, Washington, D.C., 1982, no. 9, p. 48, illustrated 
Anthony Frederick Janson, Worthington Whittredge, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1989, pp. 100-01, 191, illustrated fig. 74, p. 103


This work is in very good condition. The canvas is lined. There are two small dimples in the canvas near the upper left corner. Under UV: there are a few scattered dots of inpainting, and a small area at the bottom edge, left of center.
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.

Catalogue Note

Paying heed to the “primitive woods with their solemn silence reigning everywhere,” Worthington Whittredge began sketching forest interiors circa 1860 following his return from over a decade of study in Europe (Anthony Janson, Worthington Whittredge, New York, 1989, p. 100). Approximately two years later having become accustomed to the American landscape as well as the Hudson River School ideology, the artist attempted his first forest interior, The Glen (Private Collection, 1862). By 1866, Whittredge had developed a distinct artistic style in his woodland scenes, gleaning inspiration from his close friends Asher B. Durand and Sanford Robinson Gifford. According to Anthony Janson, the present work is based on an oil sketch most likely done outdoors. He writes that, “Whittredge’s forest interiors underwent a metamorphosis toward a greater naturalism after the Civil War, beginning with Pine Cone Gatherers” (Ibid, p. 101).

In Pine Cone Gatherers, Whittredge depicts three figures walking amidst a forest, dwarfed by the surrounding trees. Whittredge’s subtle diffusion of light throughout the canvas lends a sun-dappled effect to the multi-colored autumn leaves, while the stature of the trees clearly indicates nature to be the artist’s primary subject.  Whittredge’s refined attention to detail shines through in almost every aspect of Pine Cone Gatherers, from his dense rendering of leaves to the cracks and crevices on the barks of the trees. While his fellow contemporary artists like Bierstadt and Church preferred majestic vistas, Whittredge’s woodland interiors offered an opportunity for the artist to explore the various effects of light and color in a thoughtful and completive manner.    

Whittredge’s interest and reverence of nature as a subject is evidenced by his move to Summit, New Jersey in 1880, where he built a house in the woods. As he wrote in his autobiography of 1905 : “In 1880 I bought a small piece of land, at that time quite out of the village, and built a house upon it in which we have lived up to this time; not always observing the Sabbath in the strict manner of my forefathers, but, after church in the mornings and while my children were small, devoting my Sunday afternoons to walks with them, spring, summer and autumn, walks on which we picked many chrysalis and brought it home and hung it up, and watched for the butterfly to escape as the warm days of spring gave it life” (Edward H. Dwight, “Introduction,” Worthington Whittredge, Utica, New York, p. 20).