Oil on canvas, 21.5 x 16.5 inches / Signed lower left
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Jonas Joseph (“J.J.”) LaValley was born in Rouse Point, New York. His early eclectic “career” runs contrary to what one would expect from someone with an artistic nature. His youth was spent toiling on the family farm in New York. He later migrated to Chicopee, Massachusetts where he worked in the cotton mills. A later move to Springfield Massachusetts found him working as a professional barber. It was during this latter time, that he began honing his skills as an artist, first pencil sketches and pastels, then progressing toward oil painting. LaValley studied with Willis Seaver Adams, Edmund Case and George Newell Bowers. He eventually turned to painting full-time, opening a studio on Main Street in Springfield. LaValley enjoyed a successful art career as a painter of still-lifes, finding markets in Boston, Springfield and New York City. LaValley admits that his favorite subjects were succulent peaches and luscious raspberries. The color red figures prominently in his pallet as observed in the above painting and many of his other works. He eventually moved to Westfield, Massachusetts, where he bought a home at the base of Mount Tekoa, a stunning geologic feature carved by ancient glaciers, the West Field River and Moose Meadow Brook. LaValley spent his summers here painting landscapes and his winters painting still-lifes.