Fern Isabel Coppedge (American, 1883/88-1951)
Lumberville in Winter
Signed "Fern I. Coppedge." l.l., titled in pencil on the stretcher.
Oil on canvas, 20 x 18 in. (51.0 x 46.0 cm), in a period frame.
Condition: Scattered paint losses and flaking, surface grime.
N.B. Associated with the New Hope School of American Impressionism and a member of the Philadelphia Ten, Fern Coppedge was one of the premier Pennsylvania painters of the 20th century. Born in Decatur, Illinois, Coppedge grew up on her family's farm surrounded by a picturesque setting of barns, streams, and meadows. She was extensively educated for a female of her time, having attended McPherson College, University of Kansas, and the Art Institute of Chicago in addition to her studies with Frank Vincent DuMond and William Merritt Chase at the New York Arts Student League, and later John Carlson at the Woodstock Art Colony. However, it was at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she would be introduced to the burgeoning group of artists in nearby New Hope and surrounding Bucks County that would shape her career and work. This vibrant community boasted artists such as Daniel Garber, with whom she studied at PAFA, and provided Coppedge with endless inspiration by way of the region's picturesque covered bridges, farms, and villages. Coppedge visited the area in 1917 and purchased her studio "Boxwood" in nearby Lumberville in 1920. She maintained a version of Boxwood for the rest of her life, while also keeping a studio in Philadelphia and spending summers in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The yellow structure in the present work is believed to be her first Boxwood studio (she built a second studio of the same name in New Hope in 1929-30), which was previously a Quaker meeting house dating to the 1700s and is featured in several other works by the artist. A dedicated painter, Coppedge would endure all seasons and all manner of weather to paint en plein air. Wearing a bearskin coat, she would paint even in the dead of winter, going as far as to work in the backseat of her car to capture the landscape's frozen beauty amidst chilling temperatures. With its brilliant, prism-like palette and snow-laden surroundings, this painting is a hallmark of Coppedge's unique American Impressionist style.
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné by Les and Sue Fox. We would like to thank the authors for their assistance with this lot and encourage anyone with paintings, photographs, letters, or other documents related to Fern Coppedge to contact the Foxes so that those items may be included in the catalogue raisonné.
Framed dimensions are 27 x 25 x 1 1/2 inches. Frame with the incised initials "R.V." along the c.l. side. The brightness of the frame suggests that it has been regilded.
Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.