The Little Green House
A painting entirely new to me by Gari Melchers entitled The Little Green House has surfaced, and is to be sold at auction in Sotheby’s American Art sale scheduled for March 28, 2018. The signed oil on canvas measuring 18 ½ x 15 1/8 inches has been assigned a presale estimate of $10,000-15,000. Based on comparable examples, I would date the canvas to about 1910.
Melchers found an inexhaustible supply of old world charm in both the people and landscapes of Holland. In his first twenty years there, Melchers made the North Sea’s dunescapes the primary setting for his paintings of Dutch fisher folk. Next he turned inland to reproduce farmsteads, humble cottages, townhouses with their distinctive stepped and bell-shaped gables and picturesque summer homes perched along the banks of canals or in the setting of gentile gardens.
In My Garden
Many of these paintings began life as modestly sized, sketchy renderings produced from a boat or from the other side of a canal. Some were worked up into major easel paintings, such as In My Garden, from the Butler Art Institute, while others the artist developed no further. The Little Green House, with its wonky two story cottage and cursory execution, might be just such an example. I don’t recognize the building in any other known work by Melchers, but the formula is characteristic for him as seen in House with Green Gables at the University of Washington, Little House in Egmond, Holland, privately owned, and Old Houses, Slotweg, also privately owned.
House with Green Gables Little House in Egmond, Holland
Old Houses, Slotweg