Charles Baskerville Jr. (American, 1896-1994)
Signed and dated "CHARLES BASKERVILLE/1959" l.r.
Oil on canvas, 60 x 138 1/2 in. (152.4 x 351.79 cm), unframed.
Condition: Stretcher marks, craquelure, minor accretions l.c., small abrasion with pigment loss l.r., wear near corner.
Provenance: Commissioned from the artist by Jane and Charles Engelhard Jr., 1959; to John Bailye, New Jersey (as part of the purchase of Cragwood); estate sale, Cragwood, Far Hills, New Jersey, 2019; to the current owner.
N.B. Sought as a portraitist, Charles Baskerville's international clientele included Jawaharlal Nehru, William S. Paley, the Duchess of Windsor, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, and the King of Nepal. Many of those same patrons commissioned Baskerville to adorn their homes and businesses with large-scale murals. His paintings were installed in the first-class lounge of the ocean liner SS America, the conference room used by the Joint Committee on Military Affairs at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, and the pool house at Whitney's Long Island estate. After completing two portraits of American precious metals magnate, philanthropist, and race horse owner Charles W. Engelhard, Engelhard and his wife commissioned Baskerville to paint this mural for the pool house at their New Jersey equestrian estate, Cragwood. The Engelhards flew Baskerville to their home in Johannesburg, where the artist toured Engelhard's businesses there—gold mines and timber plantations—for inspiration. Baskerville described the resulting abstract painting as "a stylized goldmine dump and a geometric pattern reflecting his [Engelhard's] pine and eucalyptus forests." ("Business Trip," The New Yorker, July 4, 1959, pp. 19-20.)
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