Sale 10AM02 | Lot 20

Robert Havell, Jr. American, 1793-1878 Death of a Warrior: White Headed Eagle, Canvas Back Duck & Young (The Death of a Tyrant)

Catalogue: American Furniture & Decorative Arts, Including Fine Furniture and Decorations
Robert Havell, Jr. American, 1793-1878 Death of a Warrior: White Headed Eagle, Canvas Back Duck and Young (The Death of a Tyrant)

Lot Details

Lot 20
Robert Havell, Jr. American, 1793-1878 Death of a Warrior: White Headed Eagle, Canvas Back Duck & Young (The Death of a Tyrant)
American, 1793-1878
Death of a Warrior: White Headed Eagle, Canvas Back Duck & Young (The Death of a Tyrant)
Signed, dated 1871, numbered 78 and inscribed as titled in ink on the reverse (lr); faintly inscribed in pencil The Death of a Tyrant on the reverse (ll)
Oil on canvas
36 1/8 x 50 inches
Unframed

Provenance:
Henry Peck Havell, grand-nephew of the artist
Thence by descent to the present owner

Perhaps best known as the principal engraver of Audubon's Birds of America, Robert Havell was also a painter of considerable talent, producing both New York landscapes and ornithological works. He immigrated with his family from England to America in 1839, perhaps drawn there by his friendship with Audubon, as well as the naturalist's enthusiasm for the pictorial possibilities of the American hinterlands. Staying briefly with the Audubons, the Havells spent two years in Brooklyn before moving in 1841 to Ossining (then known as Sing Sing) on the Hudson River. It is thought that he painted views of the Hudson from his studio in the cupola of the home he designed on the banks of the river. In 1857, Havell moved south to Tarrytown, where he lived for the remainder of his life in a home with compelling views of the Hudson, visible from his bedroom window.

The majority of Havell's paintings are neither signed nor dated. The few that he did sign are inscribed on the back, as seen in the present work, depicting the dramatic death of a bird of prey as a family of canvasback ducks looks on. Against an expansive view of the Hudson River, the painter depicts his subjects with the fidelity of a naturalist, a logical consequence of Havell's long relationship with Audubon. Bearing the title Death of a Warrior in the final exhibition of the artist's life, held in his Tarrytown home, the painting also carries a smaller pencilled variant on the back, Death of a Tyrant, which may better explain the scene before us. The protective parents, posed aggressively, regard the demise of a bird of prey that has threatened their scampering young. A dramatic backdrop parallels the life-and-death drama. A torrential rainstorm rages behind the dying hawk, while a clearing sky behind the ducks hints at peaceful times ahead.



Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
Sold for $80,500 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

Tacking edges reinforced with Polyester Reemay adhered with BEVA 371. Two repaired holes, one in sky at upper right approximately 1 x 1/2 inches, with corresponding inpaint. Scattered tiny holes filled and inpainted.


Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.

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Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
Sold for $80,500 (includes buyer's premium)

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Catalogue Info

American Furniture & Decorative Arts, Including Fine Furniture and Decorations

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10am EST
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