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Rackstraw Downes

Oronzio Maldarelli Cottage, Skowhegan

Lot Closed

March 16, 05:53 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Rackstraw Downes

b. 1939

Oronzio Maldarelli Cottage, Skowhegan

signed with the initials RD (lower right); titled Oronzio Maldarelli and dated 1975 (on the stretcher)

oil on canvas laid down on Masonite

12 1/2 by 25 in.

31.7 by 63.5 cm.

Executed in 1975. 

Kornblee Gallery, New York

Private Collection (acquired from the above by 1984)

Acquired by descent from the above by the present owner

Stephen Pentak & David A. Lauer, Design Basics, ed. 9, Boston, 2015, p. 219, illustrated

Rackstraw Downes painted the present work while he was teaching at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, in Maine, during the summer of 1975. While teaching, he stayed in the cottage formerly named after previous artist and resident, Oronzio Maldarelli. During his stay at Skowhegan, Downes taught alongside Sidney Simon, Arlene Slavin, John Button, Stephen Greene, among many other talented artists.

The artist described in an interview with James McElhinney for the Archives of American Art in 2016, that the inspiration for the present work came from Pompeiian interiors.  The patterns and richness of color mirrored the interior itself,  Downes uses the row of windows as a way to introduce brightness, in contrast with the color of the room’s dark moldings.