Lot 620

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Description:

Irma Sompayrac Willard (American/Louisiana, 1897-1991), "Along the Stream, Louisiana Landscape", 1922, oil on canvas board, signed and dated lower right, 14 in. x 19 3/4 in., period gilt frame. Note: Born in Natchitoches, Louisiana, Irma Sompayrac (later Mrs. David Milne Willard) began painting during her time as a student at Newcomb College, from which she graduated in 1920. After spending time traveling between and working in New York City and Natchitoches, Sompayrac, her friend Gladys Breazeale, and former professor Ellsworth Woodward collaborated to create the Natchitoches Art Colony. With Sompayrac and Breazeale as directors and Woodward as professor, the Art Colony opened with its first season in 1921; there were ten students who had enrolled to study and compete for prizes. In 1922, Will Henry Stevens joined the colony as the primary instructor and over the next decade, the school, while retaining a relatively small number of around thirty students, gained national publicity and students from as far as California. This light and airy landscape, with a rich, yet soft, palette and sweeping composition, draws comparisons to Ellsworth Woodward’s oil paintings. The scene of a Louisiana stream certainly could have been painted near the Natchitoches Art Colony, a location which Woodward described as “an ideal location for an Art Colony” with “scenery unsurpassable.” Noted as the first art colony of the south, the Natchitoches Art Colony paved the way for future colonies and clubs, such as the Cane River Arts and Crafts Club.

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May 7, 2016 10:00 AM CDT
New Orleans, LA, US

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