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Frederick Wagner [1864-1940]


fred wagner

[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock,” a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]

WAGNER, Frederick [1864–1940]


date unknown

Oil on canvas / 5 inches by 7 inches

Wagner was a renowned American Impressionist who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1879 to 1884. At least a half dozen works in the Community Collection are products of PAFA graduates, which seems to be completely accidental and our remarkably good fortune. This small loose study may have been executed as a larger work.

Wagner rented studio space at 907 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia from James M. Bryant, an engraver, who often took payment “in kind” rather than cash. It was through barter that this small painting made its way to Iowa and, ultimately, to Agincourt and the Community Collection: a later Bryant family member traded “Seascape” for legal services; it then changed places with a major piece of furniture, then served as a wedding gift, passing to a child of that family, and then through an estate sale in Sioux City to Agincourt real estate agent Preston Forbes, whose widow Jeanine has given it in his memory. In art, this is called provenance.

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