Sydney Laurence Landscape, ca. 1935
My parents were married in 1930, and very shortly after that, they went to Alaska and they lived in a rooming house with this artist, Sydney Laurence. And my mother used to give him rags for his paintbrushes. That is Cook's Inlet, looking from Anchorage across to Mount Susitna.
Well, Laurence was actually born in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at the Art Students' League there and then he went off and lived at an artists' colony in Cornwall, in England. And during that time, he exhibited some of his works at the Paris Salon. And he actually won a prize in the 1890s. But then, in about 1904, he suddenly picked up and moved to Alaska. He looked for gold for almost ten years, but then he really devoted himself to painting, and by 1920, he was living in Anchorage and he was recognized as the most prominent painter of Alaska. And he used to set up camp near Mount McKinley, so that he could capture these wonderful effects of the unique kind of light that you only see in Alaska.
Right, right. Mm-hmm.
And then later, in the '20s, he set up a studio in Los Angeles. As of the late '20s, he was spending the winters in either Los Angeles or Seattle. But he would always go back to Alaska to paint in the summers. And what I found interesting was that even when he was painting in Los Angeles and other places, he tended to pick Alaskan subject matter as his preferred subject. One thing that's nice about this picture is you can kind of date it by the colors, because in his earlier works, they tended to be tonal, as to very monochromatic. And then in his later years, he picked brighter colors. And the fact that your parents lived near him in the '30s, I think this would probably date from the '30s. He died in 1940.
And we can see his signature, very faintly, down here, in a kind of violet hue. I think if you were going to sell this in a retail gallery, it might bring as much as $35,000 or $40,000.
Wow. My mother would be so proud.
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Last Tango in Halifax
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