1906 - 1978
BARN, EXTON, PENNSYLVANIA
signed CRAWFORD (lower left); also titled BARN, EXTON, PENNSYLVANIA and dated 1935 (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
16 by 20⅛ inches
(40.6 by 51.1 cm)
The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes, Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work has been restored and could be hung in its current state. The canvas is unlined. Under ultraviolet light, a small retouching can be seen to the right of the signature. It is possible that there are a few very old restorations around the extreme edges addressing some frame abrasion, two or three spots in the white cloud in the sky, and one thin line of restoration in the roof of the brown barn. The condition is otherwise very good.
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.
Estate of the above
Robert Miller Gallery, Inc., New York
ACA Galleries, New York
Luhring, Augustine and Hoades Gallery, New York
New York, Owen Gallery, American Modern: Exhibition of Paintings, April-June 2001
Richard B. Freeman, Ralston Crawford, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1953, no. 35.1, p. 44
Barbara Haskell, Ralston Crawford, New York, 1985, p. 27, illustrated fig. 17, p. 26
Born in 1906, Ralston Crawford was raised in a shipping family and spent much of his youth surrounded by cargo vessels and industry. These early experiences living among the material emblems of America—factory buildings, bridges, and docks—would have an impact on the trajectory of his later career as an artist. Initially influenced by European modernists like Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse, Crawford soon aligned himself with the Precisionist movement of the 1930s and his subjects focused on abstracted hard-edged industrial scenes, similar to those of Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth. Characterized by sharp demarcation, simplified forms, and modern compositional cropping, the present work is a remarkable example of Crawford’s ability to reduce a clearly recognizable subject to its abstracted structural essentials. Describing the artist’s graceful method of simplification, art historian Barbara Haskell summarizes: “His sharply edged geometric forms, tightly fit together in shallow-spaced compositions, expressed the rigor of structural art while retaining an accessible subject matter distinctly related to the American experience” (Ralston Crawford, New York, 1986, p. 37).
Writing on the influence of Crawford’s distinctly American modernist aesthetic and subject matter, the art historian William C. Agee states: “his type of hard-edge, precisionist art has formed an unbroken line of art that extended from the realist portraiture of John Singleton Copley, to precisionist abstraction of the 1930s, through the abstraction of Stuart Davis and Ellsworth Kelly in the 1950s, to the minimalism of Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt in the sixties. It is a tradition just as strong and painterly as expressionist art, and should be recognized as holding a place of equal importance in American art. The drive to clarify has been intrinsic in modern art, for the artist, like the scientist, often seeks the compact and elegant solution” (Ralston Crawford, New York, 2001, p. 9).