Painted when the artist was only twenty-one years old, this work hints at Blume's move away from an early precisionist style, marked by realism and attention to detail, toward his mature surrealist approach, which often included fantastical elements. Executed in the early months of 1927, while...
Painted when the artist was only twenty-one years old, this work hints at Blume's move away from an early precisionist style, marked by realism and attention to detail, toward his mature surrealist approach, which often included fantastical elements. Executed in the early months of 1927, while the artist was working in Exeter, New Hampshire, "Winter, New Hampshire" depicts a picturesque group of New England barns covered in snow. The buildings are carefully rendered, with an emphasis on the geometry of the wooden clapboarding. This delicate linear style draws heavily on the precisionist work of painters such as Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth. Yet the unusual inclusion of the cow's head, which fits precisely into the barn's triangular "window," points toward the more expressive and illogical turn Blume's work would take in the coming years. Blume's decision to paint this scene may have been a direct response to the suggestion of his good friend, the New York City art dealer Charles Daniel. Between 1913 and 1932, Daniel ran the Daniel Gallery, which handled the work of important modernists including Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, Maurice Prendergast, Man Ray, Charles Sheeler, and Abraham Walkowitz. Blume became a late addition to Daniel's roster of artists when Daniel arranged his first sale in 1925. Thereafter the two men became quite close, with Daniel both financially supporting Blume and becoming his exclusive dealer. Daniel also recommended subjects for Blume to paint that he felt would find a ready market. In February of 1927, he wrote to Blume, "Naturally I do not want to tell you what you should or shouldn't paint. But if Winter in New Hampshire would fill you with a desire to paint a Snow Landscape, I know we should have a Picture that would be very enticing." (Quoted in Julie Mellby, "Letters from Charles Daniel to Peter Blume," Archives of American Art Journal 33, No. 1 (1993) p. 19.) Certainly the painting's title, "Winter, New Hampshire," is almost verbatim the phrase that appears in Daniel's letter. Blume did sell the painting through Daniel Gallery. It was purchased by the collector John T. Spaulding sometime before the fall of 1929, when it was lent from Spaulding's collection to a show called "An Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture by the School of New York" at the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Heather Hole
Lower left: PETER BLUME/1927
The artist; John T. Spaulding, Boston, by 1930; to MFA, 1948, bequest of John T. Spaulding.
Bequest of John T. Spaulding
Art © The Educational Alliance, Inc./Estate of Peter Blume / Licensed by VAGA, NY