Oil on canvas, 13.5 x 19.75 inches/Signed lower left
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Robert Bruce Crane was born in New York City, but by circa 1874 the family was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he worked as a draftsman for an architect and builder. His father, himself an amateur painter, may have provided Crane’s earliest training; but from 1876 to 1877 he studied with Alexander H. Wyant and from 1878 to 1882 at the Art Students League in New York City. In 1882 Crane traveled to France where he spent a year and a half painting en plein air at Grez-sur-Loing under the tutelage of Barbizon painter Jean-Charles Cazin and alongside Kenyon Cox and Birge Harrison. Back in the United States by the early 1880s, Crane painted primarily at East Hampton, on the eastern end of Long Island; Cranford, New Jersey; and the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains. He also spent time at Cape Ann, Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Mystic, Connecticut. Circa 1904 he began spending summers at the artists’ colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut. In 1914, Crane moved to Bronxville, New York and remained there until his death in 1937. Crane was part of an informal group of artists who exhibited together at The Macbeth Gallery in New York City in 1915. The exhibition catalog was titled “Exhibition of Paintings by Twelve Landscape Painters” (“The Twelve”). Known mostly for his golden-toned fall and winter landscapes, his painting style can best referred to as “tonal impressionism”, having characteristics borrowed from the French Barbizon training and that of the American Impressionists he worked with while at Old Lyme. His earlier works were more academic in approach—detailed and literal in their execution. Crane was a member of the National Academy of Design; Salmagundi Club; American Watercolor Society, Painters in Watercolor; Brooklyn Art Association; the Grand Central Art Galleries; and the Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts et des Lettres. He exhibited at National Academy of Design (Inness Gold Medal and the J. Sanford Saltus Medal); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; the Boston Art Club; the Carnegie Institute (prize); Society of American Artists (Webb prize); the Corcoran Gallery; World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1892-1893); the Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1900, prize); the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904, prize); and the Panama Pacific Exhibition (San Francisco, 1914).
High auction record for this artist is $51,400.