EDGAR PAYNE's The Jungfrau will appear on Bonhams CALIFORNIA AND WESTERN PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURE Sale August 1. Estimate US$ 200,000 - 300,000
Edgar Payne spent much of the summer of 1921 sketching in the Sierra, but the artist was restless for more peaks to explore, so he planned an extended trip to Europe with his family. He began what was to be a two-year journey by sailing from New York to Paris in July 1922. The family remained in Paris throughout August and then drove through the mountainous Haute-Savoie region along the Swiss border, through the French Alps and eventually to Marseilles. They spent a month in Southern France before crossing into Italy and visiting Rome. In the early spring of 1923, they travelled north, visiting many Italian towns and eventually arriving in Switzerland.
The sight of the Swiss Alps must have taken their collective breath away. Anyone that appreciated the grandeur of the Sierras as much as Edgar Payne would be overwhelmed by the beauty of the Alps. The enormity of these mountains is extraordinary and Payne must have been immediately inspired to paint them and try and capture that grandness.
The Jungfrau is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps, located between the northern canton of Berne and the southern canton of Valais, halfway between Interlaken and Fiesch. Together with the Eiger and Mönch, the Jungfrau forms a massive wall overlooking the Bernese Oberland and the Swiss Plateau, which is one of the most distinctive sights of the Swiss Alps.
The present work is possibly one of two known Payne paintings depicting The Jungfrau, which were known as Grandeur des Alpes—La Jungfrau when it was exhibited at the Galerie Jacques Seligmann et fils in Paris, from March 15 to April 1, 1924, and Le Monarque des Oberland (La Jungfrau) when it was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1924.
In this painting, Payne uses extremely thick impasto to draw attention to and capture the distinctly varied texture of the mountain's glaciers and rock outcroppings. The painting is almost three dimensional in person and urges to viewer to step in to the landscape. Few painters capture the true experience of standing in person before such a majestic peak, but with this masterpiece, The Jungfrau, Edgar Payne succeeds.
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