[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
DREW, George W. (attributed) [1875-1968]
“Fens at Twilight”
oil on canvas panel / 8 inches by 10 inches
Many of the Community Collection’s smallest works are also its most cherished. Such is the case with “Fens at Twilight” attributed to George Drew, which is often requested in the rotation of works in the continuing exhibit. Since its acquisition in 1940 from the — family, who had acquired it as a wedding gift in 1902, “Fens” has been displayed more frequently than any other work, and has also been on the walls more often that not.¹
According to one on-line source:
George W. Drew was born in New York City on 21 December 1875. This talented but unknown artist painted jewel-like, luminous, and meticulous yet magical landscapes such as “Fall Landscape.” His teachers were John Califano (1864-1946), largely a California painter, and Henry P. Smith (1854-1907). The latter seems to have passed on his tight technique of rendering New England landscapes to Drew. Califano probably helped Drew submit works to the National Academy of Design — both painters had works on display there at the end of the 1890s. Drew’s “The Squatter’s Home” appeared there in 1898 then he became involved with Allied Artists of America, but he appears to have been inactive until the mid 1930s when he exhibited at Salons of America (1935-36) and at the Society of Independent Artists (1935-42). Peter Falk notes that Drew executed a mural in Mount Vernon, New York’s Travers Island Yacht House. Drew died in New York City in 1968.²
All of that being said, this small piece is unsigned and—despite its technical skill and artistic charm—resembles none of the artist’s works that are pictured on-line.
¹ Gaps in the Community Collection files make this a guarded statement.
² On-line sources frequently offer conflicting biographical information, often because they cut-and-paste one another’s biographical profiles. Many Drew entries, for example, give his birthplace as Massachusetts. Just one (that I have found) places it in New York. A quick review of U.S. Census information, however, confirms New York City as his birthplace and, indeed, directories and voter registration lists confirm that he may have been a life-long resident of the city.
[…] But there are other allusions to be made. With the comparable modesties (does modesty have a plural?) of both Halsey Wood in his Jersey Shore churches and in the exactly contemporary Dakota churches of emigrant British architect George Hancock. There’s a thread here pleading to be woven. […]
[…] Drew’s painting “Fens at Twilight” (above) portrays a landscape on the other side of Britain—more land than water and […]