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Frederick Ferdinand Schafer Painting Catalog

Painting record FFSd0296

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[photo] Sunset on Mount Shasta from Cape Horn

Date: not dated, by 1894
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 40 x 71 in (102 x 178 cm)
Inscription: l/r "FSchafer.", initials conjoined in a monogram, in the artist's characteristic block-letter hand, underlined
Verso: l/c "Sunset on Mt Shasta from Cape Horn / on upper Sacramento Riv, Cali", in the artist's characteristic block-letter hand, brush on canvas
Provenance: collection of John A. Anthony, Alameda, California; by gift to The Alameda Free Library in 1894 (public); transferred to The Alameda Museum (public) by 2007.
Reproductions: William K. Dick photo #14 (color, 1971); Alameda Free Library Clipping File photo (color, 1971); The Library administrative file contains a color slide and several monochrome photographs taken in the process of conservation.
Citations: Undated note [Archives of California Art]. Butterfield & Butterfield appraisal of 4 March 1975, and painting conservation record of 3 February 1976 [Alameda Library administrative file]. Alameda Times-Star, 28 June 1922 and 1 July 1922.
Attribution: Since it was presented to the public library by a prominent citizen in the town in which Schafer lived at the time, it seems very likely that this painting is correctly attributed.
Site: View of Mount Shasta, California, from the south, across the upper Sacramento River.
Description: The setting sun (off the canvas to the left) casts a slightly orange glow on the snow cap of Mount Shasta, with the shadow of Shastina covering its lower reaches. The sky is a light but intense blue, with a few wisps of bright orange clouds. The view is up a valley from the left bank of a river. The further reaches of the slope on the left are covered with a conifer forest, in which two trees project above the horizon. Across a snow covered clearing, near the edge of the forest, are two standing dead trees, a dead tree that has fallen toward the right, and at the river bank a large boulder. To the right of the river is a brush-covered slope topped with a dark forest; on a point extending into the river from the right four very small figures--probably Indians--sit between two tepees beside a campfire. The river winds forward to depart at the right front edge of the painting. The entire painting is quite dark, with warm colors throughout; only the snow-capped mountain and a patch of snow in the left foreground are bright. (From the painting, 16 September 1989.)
Note: 1. For many years the painting hung above a dimly-lit landing in the main stairway of the The Alameda Free Library, 2264 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, California. When the library moved to a new building in 1997 the painting went into storage for several years. Sometime around 2005 it was transferred to the The Alameda Museum. 2. A presentation plaque on the frame reads "Presented to / Alameda Free Public Library / by / Jno. A. Anthony. / - 1894 -". 3. An identification plaque on the frame reads "Sunset on M't. Shasta. / Schaefer." 4. A painting with the same title was offered as lot 15 on page 2 of the catalog of a May 1886 exhibition and auction sale in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, but the information in that catalog is insufficient to either include or exclude the possibility that it is this painting.
Legend: Cape Horn is said to be accessible only by railroad or climbing with ropes, so some observers have taken this painting as evidence for a connection between Schafer and the railroad management.
Identification: The Oakland Museum Archive note names the Alameda Public Library as the owner and John Anthony as the donor. The photograph by William K. Dick identifies the library as the owner at that time.
Other title(s): Sunset on Mount Shasta (identification plaque on the frame)
In index(es): Title list, Indian encampments as incidental subjects, Mount Shasta and Shastina, sunset scenes, twenty representative works by the artist, paintings currently held in museums and public collections

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Mar 10, 2024, 11:47 MDT Accessibility