American Printmakers On-line Catalogue Raisonné Project
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Copyright ©
2006-2007
by Jeffrey Coven
The Prints of Ernest Fiene:
A Catalogue Raisonné -- in progress
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New Snow
Catalogue Entry # 87
(Click here for explanation of catalogue entry #s and titles.)


Click the image for enlargement.

Date: 1946

Medium: Lithograph

Edition: 250 (published by Associated American Artists)

Dimensions: 9 3/8 x 13 in.

Printer: George C. Miller

Typical pencil annotations on impressions from the edition: Just below the image: signed or signed and dated, l.r.*

Public collections holding this print: BMFA, CMP, CGA, LC, SAAM, UVFL WA, Yale

Topic galleries for this print:
1. Churches
2. Nocturnes
3. Winter Scenes

Notes

*Annotations: Typically prints published by Associated American Artists are singed in pencil (l.r.) with no other pencil annotation, the title being printed on the accompanying label (See below.) Several impressions of New Snow, however, have the date ('46) in pencil just to the right of the signature, and several others have the title in pencil, (l.l.). The probable explanation for the variant annotations is that the artist annotated his artist's proofs from outside the edition differently. It was Fiene's practice to have up to ten artist's proofs.

.

Prize and reproduced in: This print, awarded "First Purchase Prize" by the Library of Congress in 1946 is illustrated in Reese.

Miscellany: In a letter postmarked Nov. 29, 1946, Thomas Hart Benton wrote the following to his friend Ernest Fiene: "We received your litho. It is a good one and a welcome addition to our collection. If you have any extra copies of the old one with the deer in it (See Winter Evening) and would like to trade it for any of mine I'd sure like to make the exchange." As New Snow is the only Fiene lithograph from 1946, it is probably the print that Fiene had sent to Benton.

Setting: Albert Reese quotes the artist as follows:

In New Snow, I tried to symbolize the purity of New England design. It has been my impression that the early New England architects designed their churches with the thought of silhouetting them against the crisp winter background of snowy hills and struggling barren trees. The emphasis on purity of line and color embodies the cultural contributions of Man to Nature. This particular church is located in an isolated spot at a crossroad in the township of Easton, Conn" (Reese 58).

More specifically, the church is in Stepney, Connecticut.

Related Works: In 1949, Fiene revisited the subject in a lithograph and produced a very similar, though reversed, image. (See Colonial Church (1949). Fiene used the same church in Stepney, Connecticut, as the subject for three lithographs: New Snow, 1946 (above); Colonial Church, 1948; and Colonial Church, 1949.

The painting shown below bears the same title and is essentially the same image. Currently in a private collection, it was formerly in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

About the painting, Fiene wrote: "Note how the sky creates the general mood of the landscape. I felt that the agitated, dark sky and the old gnarled trees emphasized the feeling of the new, untrodden snow, and the classical simplicity of the early New England Church" (Fiene, Complete Guide 106). Fiene produced a series of works both in oil and lithography on Connecticut Churches in which his compositional concern was "to achieve the clean and classical expression of the style of the church." To achieve this effect "detail is kept to a minimum," he writes (107). On the other hand, the somber mood was "very definitely" a reflection of his own mood during this period (Buitar 93).

New Snow, c. 1944, oil on canvas, 26 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. (Originally acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Associated American Artists, now in a private collection. Photo courtesy of the estate of the artist.)

"I made the detail and compositional pencil sketches on the spot and painted the picture later in my studio." (Fiene, Complete Guide 105)

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This page last revised: Monday, December 15, 2008