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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Newtown Church
Catalogue Entry # 73
(Click here for explanation of catalogue entry #s and titles.)


Click the image for enlargement.

Date: 1934*

Medium: Lithograph

Edition: (See below.)*

Dimensions: 8 x 5 1/2 in.

Printer: George C. Miller

Typical pencil annotations on impressions from the edition: (See below.)*

Public collections holding this print: Currently unknown

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

Notes

*Dates, signatures, Edition, and other annotations: There is much inconsistency in the manner of annotating this lithograph. One observed impression is signed and dated l.r., but untitled. Another is titled lower left and signed lower right but undated. Another is signed lower right but is untitled and undated. Yet another is signed and numbered "3/51." There are at least two impressions with no signature or annotations--including the one on the uncut sheet pictured below. Given this lack of consistency, no firm conclusion regarding the edition is yet possible.

Although Newtown Church is dated 1934 and Old Church, Connecticut 1935, they were apparently printed on the same sheet and therefore almost certainly at the same time, as the photo of the uncut sheet below reveals. It is possible, though unlikely, that for "Old Church" Fiene returned to a stone with an image of Newtown Church already on it; or alternatively, they may have been printed at the same time (1934), but Fiene didn't sign, date or issue Old Church, Connecticut until the following year.

If all impressions of Newtown Church and Old Church, Connecticut were printed on the same sheet at the same time, it would stand to reason that the number of impressions would be the same for both. The only hint at what this number might be is the one observed impression of Newtown Church numbered "3/51."


Two lithographs, Newtown Church (1934) and Old Church, Connecticut (1935), printed on the same sheet

Setting: Newtown, CT, is located about 10 miles southwest of Southbury, CT, where Fiene purchased a residence in 1933. The surrounding countryside served as a setting for many paintings and lithographs of the Thirties and after.

Fiene comments on his "gray and somber" church scenes, "I wanted to find my own reality. This mood runs through . . . a series I did of Connecticut churches" (Buitar 93).

Inscription: one impression is inscribed "To Elsa and Stefan [Hirsch] a merry xmas and a happy new year / from Janette & Ernest" in pencil l.c. Stefan Hirsch, American artist (1899-1964) originally from Brooklyn, NY.

Related Works: (See below.)

[Untitled] Newtown Church, 1934, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 in. (private collection).
"Southbury Church, Autumn" c. 1934, oil on canvas,
24 x 20 in. (private collection).
Apparently Fiene produced works depicting the same church at different seasons, times of day and weather conditions, as well as varying them slightly in other details. The lithograph (top of page) is set at night with the ground heavily covered in snow, almost certainly in winter; the steeple has a vent and no windows, the branches of the big trees are leafless and the wind calm; small evergreens appear on either side of the door. The painting on the left above is set during the day with some ground uncovered by snow, suggesting spring's approach; the steeple has two windows; the wind blows the branches of the two leafless trees, and the skies are cloudy. No evergreens flank the church door. Numerous smaller differences can also be discerned.

Titles also differ. The painting above right is titled "Southbury Church, Autumn." The details of the setting clearly mark the season: the wind is calm and the skies are mostly clear. The lithograph is titled "Newtown Church." The painting above left is untitled. Newtown and Southbury are located very close to each other in southern Connecticut. Presumably the model for the church is the same in all three works.

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This page last revised: Monday, December 15, 2008