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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0325

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[photo] West coast Indians near Victoria, British Columbia

Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 30 x 20 in (76 x 51 cm)
Inscription: l/r "FSchafer", in the artist's characteristic block-letter hand, initials conjoined in a monogram
Verso: l/r "west coast Indians near Victoria, BC."
Provenance: In collection of Franz R. Stenzel, M.D., & Kathryn M. Stenzel, Portland, Oregon, by 1959; sold 24 June 1980 for $2860 as lot 674 in sale 280 by Sotheby's, Los Angeles to The British Columbia Visual Records Archive.
Exhibited: Art of the Oregon Territory, Eugene, Oregon, 1959. An Art Perspective of the Historic Pacific Northwest, Helena, Montana, and Spokane, Washington, 1963.
Reproductions: 1963 exhibition catalog, pages 22-23, figure 53; 24 June 1980 sale catalog
Citations: 1959 exhibition catalog; Inventory of American Paintings… record 80710021; British Columbia Archives visual records catalog, record PDP04468.
Description: A river flows beneath the viewer's feet. In the center, on the opposite bank, are two pointed canoes facing to the right; in the farther one is a seated figure. Farther up the bank, on the right, is a tent surrounded by several figures, seated and standing. Still farther, in a shady clearing toward the left, are two tepees and another figure. Tall trees of a conifer forest frame both sides, the forest surrounds the clearing, an indistinct mountain provides a backdrop, and clouds fill the sky. (From the painting, 9 September 1998.)
Note: This painting is one of a series of Pacific northwest coast and Victoria, British Columbia, all of which depict the same tents and large, ocean-going dugout canoes.
Identification: The 1963 exhibition catalog reports the title inscription verso and offers a date of 1878, though there no evidence has emerged that Schafer visited Victoria that early. The Sotheby's sale is of the Stenzel collection, although the catalog gives the title as West Coast Indian camp near Victoria, B.C. The B.C. archives confirm that their painting was acquired at the Sotheby's sale. The 1959 exhibition catalog describes a painting with the alternate title, size 31 x 21 in, owned by Stenzel, and gives the same date. The common ownership and the similarity in size, proposed date, and title suggest that it is the same painting, although the inch-larger dimensions and the failure to use the verso inscription as the title in the 1959 exhibition are puzzling. Although possible, it seems unlikely that there were two nearly identical paintings in the Stenzel collection; when the collection was dispersed by Sotheby in 1980, only one Schafer was listed. The Inventory of American Paintings entry cites the 1959 exhibition.
Other title(s): Indians camping, British Columbia (1959 exhibition catalog); West Coast First Nations near Victoria, B.C. (renamed by BC Archives)
In index(es): Title list, Indian encampments as primary subjects, Pacific northwest coast and Victoria, British Columbia, paintings currently held in museums and public collections

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May 19, 2024, 10:22 MDT Accessibility