Wednesday, March 28, 2007

J.W. Waterhouse

John William Waterhouse is one of my favourite painters. I love that he drew inspiration from mythology and literature for his art.

I first discovered him when in university. There is an annual poster sale that tours the schools called Imaginus and I bought this print to decorate my bare residence walls in my second year: La Belle Dame Sans Merci.

The next year, I added Hylas and the Nymphs to my collection:

It's one of my favourites because of the rich reds in the nymphs' hair - the image here doesn't do it justice but it's beautiful.

I've never actually seen any of his paintings up close and personal in any of the museums or galleries I've visited. I have this vague memory that much of his work is in Manchester, where I have never been...but I could be wrong about that.

I immediately recognized his work when I saw the image below today while browsing the paper online and clicked to read this story about his painting, Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, being up for sale.

According to the article, the painting was originally owned by a British aristocrat who bought it around 1910 but it's not clear how the painting ended up in Canada, where it surfaced for framing and cleaning in Toronto in 1959.

Although Waterhouse scholars have known about the canvas for decades, it disappeared from public view until 2002 when Odon Wagner, an art dealer in Toronto, announced that it had been found in a run-down farmhouse near Lake Simcoe, about 150 kilometres north of Toronto.

The painting was brought to his attention in November, 2001, by clients who wanted the work appraised. The couple had bought the Lake Simcoe property and its furnishings, including the Waterhouse, from its previous owner in 1973. It is scheduled to be sold next month by Sotheby's in New York where it could go for as much as $3-million.

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