Selden Connor Gile (1877-1947) Belvedere 30 x 36in overall: 37 x 43in (Painted in 1927)
Lot 34
Selden Connor Gile
(1877-1947)
Belvedere 30 x 36in overall: 37 x 43in
US$ 400,000 - 600,000
£300,000 - 450,000

Lot Details
Selden Connor Gile (1877-1947)
Belvedere
signed and dated 'S.C. Gile 27' (lower right)
oil on canvas
30 x 36in
overall: 37 x 43in
Painted in 1927

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, Long Beach, California.
    Private collection, Northern California.

    Exhibited
    Santa Cruz, Second Annual State-wide Art Exhibit of Paintings in Oils, Pastels and Water Colors by Notable California Artists, sponsored by the Santa Cruz Art League, February 1 – February 15, 1929.

    Selden Gile was the driving force behind the Society of Six in the 1920s. He set the aesthetic standards that espoused color and guided the group with the strength of his personality, physical energy, and warm hospitality. Departing from the dominant decorative and Tonalist influences of William Keith, Thomas Hill and Arthur Mathews, the Society of Six created a new landscape art of sunny reality; it was Impressionism meets Fauvism applied to the California landscape.

    Gile was born in Stow, Maine, to parents from Salem, England, and was named for Selden Connor, Governor of Maine. The family lived on a farm, but from childhood, he was regarded as different from his boisterous, carousing brothers because of his artistic talents and apparent refinement. Selden's reasons for wanting to head West are unknown, but one of his brothers loaned him fifty dollars for the journey.

    In the semi-mythical mode of the artistic genius, Gile was basically self-taught as an artist. With his high energy and a sturdy build, he had a capacity for long hiking trips and outdoor, plein-air painting that he pursued passionately. He shared his house with several aspiring artists and held dinners that he prepared with skill in what was described as an all-male, raucous atmosphere. Friendship with writer Jack London underscored Gile's seeking out of people that were creative, romantic, assertive, and working class.

    With the Six, he exhibited regularly at the Oakland Art Gallery. In 1927, he moved north to Tiburon and later to adjacent Belvedere Island, both of which were popular locations for his paintings. The houseboats and rickety shacks along the waterline, many on wooden pilings, were a favorite subject. Many of the rooftops were painted bright colors, as were the various boats moving to and fro along the bay. These pre-existing, colorful and lively compositions surely inspired Gile's color saturated paintings. Justifiably, his best known works typically incorporate these forms and colors.

    The current painting, Belvedere, is amongst the very best examples of his brilliant work. Gile pulls out all the stops with a full use of bright, primary colors filling the scene with vivid blues, reds, yellows and oranges. The composition incorporates familiar Gile elements, often seen separately in the artist's work, and puts them all together in an unusually large, fully developed explosion of color that captures the spirit of the Six's ideals. To date, this is Gile's best known and most important work to be offered at auction.
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