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Frederic Church's 'Mount Newport on Mount Desert Island' to be offered in May American Art Sale
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), Mount Newport on Mount Desert Island, oil on canvas, painted circa 1851-53. Estimate: $5,000,000 – 7,000,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announces Frederic Church’s majestic painting, Mount Newport on Mount Desert Island, will be among the highlights offered in its May 21 sale of American Art. Frederic Church is considered the preeminent America painter of the 19th Century who fully expressed the majesty and spirituality found in the American landscape. Estimated at $5-7 million, Mount Newport on Mount Desert Island is a rare painting and among the most important works by Church to appear on the market.

Frederic Church began his career under the tutelage of the leading American landscapist of the previous generation, Thomas Cole, and in 1850 followed in his mentor’s footsteps and set off for his own sketching tour of Maine. This visit was the first of more than a dozen trips to the state over the course of thirty years. Painted in the same important period of his early career circa 1851-53, Mount Newport on Mount Desert Island is a marvelous example of Church’s luminous representations of man’s exploration in the wilderness.

In the work Church presents Mount Newport, now known as Champlain Mountain, as an untouched, lush landscape, unpopulated except for a solitary figure in the foreground. The painting evokes a natural harmony, inherent in the peaceful setting and interconnectivity of each section of the landscape. The shape of the gently rolling peaks of the mountains is echoed in the outline of the billowing clouds above. The golden yellow highlights throughout create a sense of overall light and composition. Church characteristically incorporated a concentration on light effects, the use of aerial perspective and a hiding of visible brushstrokes to create poetic atmosphere in his landscapes.

Church’s popular depictions of Maine acted as advertisements and propelled tourists to explore the previously underappreciated landmarks. The popularity of Church’s resulting works was arguably the spark for an important Maine tradition in American art. The public appreciation of America’s wilderness as depicted by Church also invigorated artists, such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, to explore the nation’s other unexplored areas, like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, and over the long term created a national appreciation for preserving such sites through national parks.

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