[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
GAUDRY, T. [dates unknown]
Canal in Flanders
oil on wood panel / 7 inches by 12 inches
Even the spelling of Gaudry’s name is uncertain. The handwritten label is no clearer than the signature on the painting itself and on-line databases reveal nothing for an artist of that name. The title—”Canal in Flanders”—though readable, may have been assigned by Chicago’s Thurber Art Galleries, which sold the work. Winfield Scott Thurber had opened a shop on South Wabash street in the 1880s, though the label on this painting suggests its sale dates from after 1909 when Thurber relocated to the Fine Arts Building (into space designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright) on nearby Michigan Boulevard. Advertisements in various directories and journals suggest the range of his stock, which could easily have included small plein air works such as this.
Equally mysterious is the donor of “Canal in Flanders”. It was an early acquisition, perhaps within a year or two of the GAR exhibit that began the Community Collection, and may have been loaned by Aidan and Cordelia Archer whose home on East Agincourt Avenue was designed by Chicago architect Lawrence Buck. The small scale (just seven by twelve inches) of Gaudry’s painting and its Arts & Crafts frame would have fit comfortably into Buck’s flowing ground floor interior, which offered nearly as much window as wall space. During the Depression, the Archer house had been divided into small apartments and boarding rooms, including one occupied during the 1940s by Agincourt artist Karl Wasserman.