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Irene Stry (1904-1963), Hungarian-American
Lake Scene with Boat Launch, undated
oil on canvas (relined, cleaned), 8 in. x 10 in.
(framed dimensions: 11 ½ in. x 13 ½ in.)
Signed lower right: “CLAIR”

A delightful, painterly little painting depicting a boat ramp at what appears to be a lake or inlet with two dories, possibly a Cape Cod scene. Though undated, the painting appears to be a mature work – the artist’s pigments are applied fluidly and confidently, using a wide array of hues including blues, yellows, pinks, lavenders, greens and reds.

Born Kaethe Augenstein in Hungary in 1904, “Kay” Irene Stry came to the United States from Germany in early July, 1923, along with her soon-to-be husband, Eric Stry, also an artist. The two would marry a couple of weeks later, in Brooklyn, New York. They would go on to live and work in New York City, he keeping a studio there while she worked as a freelance artist. By the late 1930s, the two were living in Greenwich Village. At some point they also became acquainted with Cape Cod and traveled there to paint. In 1939, the same year Irene became a naturalized citizen, a September 10 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article gives a snapshot of the couple at that time:

“The drab gray fence which fronts the Central Library building on Grand Army Plaza became today a backdrop for art as more than 25 artists hung their bright colored works on its smooth surface in the 14th annual outdoor art exhibit in Brooklyn… the pictures ranged in price from $1 to $75 .. included etchings, watercolors, oil landscapes, portraits, as well as marine and still-life paintings.

The show was being run by Mrs. Irene Stry of 31 W. 8th St., Manhattan. Both Mrs. Stry and her husband, Erick [sic], exhibited a group of paintings which included stills and sea scenes done in Provincetown, Mass., this Summer.”

Both Eric and Irene were well known for their landscapes, seascapes and harbor scenes of Provincetown, having a studio on Commercial Street, as well as scenes of Truro, Massachusetts. Irene also enjoyed still life painting. She sometimes signed her work with the name ‘Clair’ as seen in this painting. Irene is known for painting many smaller paintings, many of them little gems, which capture the light, colors and atmosphere of the outer Cape.

Sometime in the 1950s the couple moved to Florida, where Irene passed away in Saint Johns on May 6, 1963. Her husband Eric later died in Saint Petersburg in December,1975 at the age of 74.

Condition:

The painting has been relined and cleaned and is in excellent condition with fresh colors and no loss or inpainting. The frame is a nice quality modern Arts & Crafts style reproduction with gilt finish.

ITEM ID
JQ-B41
AGE
Mid 20th Century
THEME
Coastal, Marine
MEDIA
Canvas, Oil Paint
GENRE
American Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture
ORIGIN
United States • American
ITEM TYPE
Vintage

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Irene Stry, oil painting, Lake Scene with Boat Launch

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