Walter Isaacs Village Scene 1934-36 Oil On Board SOLD P775

Walter F Isaacs (1886- 1964) painted this view of small town life on the West Coast in the thirties. There’s a a touch of Cezanne in the modeling of the figures and houses albeit in a more muted palette. Particularly charming is the juxtaposition of the car and the two mules.

Price on request.

Walter Isaacs was a noted member of what became known as the Northwest School, which flourished in and around Seattle in the 1930s and 40s. Their work became recognized nationally when LIFE magazine published a 1953 feature article on them. It was the first such broad recognition of artists from this corner of the world beyond traditional Northwest Native American art forms, which had been long recognized as “northwest art.” The style of the Northwest School is characterized by the use of symbols of the nature of Western Washington, as well as the diffuse lighting characteristic of the Skagit Valley area. The lighting and choice of earthy tonal ranges in the color is one of the most important qualities of Northwest art. The Northwest painters are identifiable by the soft pastel colors they used, and the dark mist chroma of lighting, with few stark shadows.

I’ve appended this interesting blog entry below:

From the Art Contrarian Blog by Donald Pittinger, Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reacting to Modernism: Walter F. Isaacs

“My old stomping ground, the School of Art at the University of Washington, held an exhibit featuring three former faculty members including its first chairman Walter F. Isaacs (1886-1964). I went to see it because two of the artists (Ray Hill, 1891-1980 and Boyer Gonzales, Jr., 1909-1987) were there when I was. But I was most anxious to see Isaacs’ work because he was active during a period that interests me greatly: 1920-1945.Why those years? Because they were the time following the surge of art movements (Cubism, Fauves, Futurism, Blaue Reiter, etc., etc.) in the years just before the Great War. Following the war many avant-garde artists experienced a what-do-we-do-next? realization as the number of new movements fell off drastically. Meanwhile, artists trained traditionally had to come to terms with modernism because the art market seemed to be drifting in that direction and the matter of bread on the table could not be totally ignored. So many artists struggled stylistically, and it is the art they created while struggling that interests me.Isaacs was raised on an Illinois farm, but other than the fact that he attended college somewhere, I have no information about what he did from the time he left the farm until he enrolled at Chicago’s Art Institute in 1914 when he was about 28 years old. He then went on to teach at what is now Northern Colorado University in Greeley, but left to study in France in 1920. In 1923 he was hired as art professor at the University of Washington and headed the art department until his 1954 retirement. While at Washington he continued to travel to Europe in order to experience what was still the world’s leading art.”