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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0001

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[photo] After a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Summit Station, Central Pacific Railroad

Date: 1885
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 24 x 16 in (61 x 41 cm)
Inscription: l/r "FSchafer.85.", initials conjoined in a monogram, in the artist's block-letter hand, underlined
Verso: l/c "After a Snowstorm / in the Sierra Nevada Mts / near Summit St. / C.P.R." in the artist's hand. On the (modern) frame, in pencil, "Dentzel 16 x 24 Janova p33 Linen 337"
Provenance: In collection of Carl Schafer Dentzel, Northridge, California, by 1975; By descent to collection of Elisabeth-Waldo Dentzel, California, by 1989; sold 21 November 2011 for $6500+25% by Bonhams, San Francisco, as lot 4 in sale 19417.
Exhibited: Western Scene, Los Angeles, California, 1975
Reproductions: 1975 exhibition catalog, figure 52, Early California and Western Art Research/Schafer slide #26 (color, 1975), Vincent, Stephen et al., O California!, page 92, figure 39 (color), Bonhams 21 November 2011 sale catalog.
Description: A train with two engines stops at the exit of a showshed in a snowbound mountain pass while about a dozen figures stand in the snow around the engines, using shovels to clear the tracks. In the foreground is a clearing littered with fallen trees and a boulder, which is directly between the viewer and the engines. On the left is a hillside whose steep brownish slope is the only area without snow; it is topped with conifers, while a branchless tree leans toward the snowshed. The black smoke of the engines blends into an indistinct greenish-black conifer forest in the background. Areas of bright gold and red on the engines and on the workers' coats enliven the scene. (From a color photograph.)
Note: A painting with a shortened version of the same title was offered as lot 77 on page 6 in the catalog of a 17 November 1885 auction in San Francisco but there is not enough information in that catalog to either include or exclude the possibility that it is the same painting.
Identification: This is the same scene as Winter in the Sierras on the Central Pacific Railroad but viewed from a vantage point slightly farther to the left. In that painting the boulder is more to the left, and the leaning tree is fully branched rather than leafless.

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Feb 20, 2022, 12:10 MST Accessibility