Oil on canvas, c. 12 x 20 in.
Born into English aristocracy – the
Earls of Wandesforde – James (a.k.a. Juan, Ivan) was taught the
exacting technique of watercolor painting at a time when the medium
was used to make photographic-like transcriptions of landscapes,
portraits and botanical studies. Between c. 1847 and 1857 he honed
his technique in Canada where he operated a sawmill at Trelawney.
In the late 1850s he exhibited artworks in New York and, in 1862,
moved to San Francisco. His arrival in California coincided with
the great age of Northern California landscape (c. 1860-1880) when
the detailed Hudson River School style (Romantic Realism)
prevailed. In San Francisco he segued from income-producing jobs
such as teaching art and producing watercolor portraits to painting
landscapes and still lifes. Wandesforde became an integral member
of San Francisco’s art community. In his studio the San Francisco
Art Association was formed in 1871, he served as its president, and
he took many sketching trips with fellow artists. The location of
the rather idealized Untitled (Mountain Lake) is unknown
although Wandesforde sketched at Clear Lake. The coloration,
technique, and brushwork are similar to other works he painted c.
1868. Wandesforde’s pictures are rare since a fire consumed his
Hayward studio in the 1890s.
Provenance: estate sale, Glendale, September 1985; exhibitions
and publications: exhibited, 75 Works 75 Years Collecting the Art
of California, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, Ca. April 2 - July
11, 1993, and reproduced in the catalogue in color p. 12.