Harold C. Dunbar (1882-1957), American
"Bridge Over The Dyver, Bruges", 1913
oil on wood panel, 10.5 in. x 13.5 in.
(framed dimensions: 13.25 in x 16.5 in.)
signed lower right: "H.C. Dunbar Bruges 1913"
The painting depicts a canal scene in Bruges, Belgium. The location can be placed exactly along the street known as Gouden-Handrei (Golden Hand canal) on the south side of the canal looking east toward the small bridge that carries Langerei Street. The scene has not changed much in 106 years: the central building, the bridge, and the distant buildings appear nearly identical today. The painting appears to be an overcast day with muted sunlight. The artist offsets the browns and grays of the buildings and sky with the salmon-pinks of the terracotta roof tiles, small but vivid red window flowers and some green vegetation, along with a pair of swans in the center of the canal. Overall it is a charming little painting. Dunbar did study for a time in Paris and it would not be unusual for an artist to make the trip to Bruges, the "Venice of the North", famed for its beauty and canals. At that time Bruges was one of the premier tourist destinations. By the following summer of 1914 Bruges would be under German occupation for the duration of World War I and again later during World War II. Fortunately, Bruges escaped any significant damage during both wars.
Harold Dunbar, born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1882, studied painting with noted Boston artists Ernest Major and Joseph DeCamp (of The Ten fame) at Massachusetts School of Art and also with Edmund Tarbell (also of The Ten) at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He continued his training in Paris at the Académie Colarossi. Dunbar produced many fine impressionist New England landscapes in all seasons during the earlier part of his career. He also completed the occasional interior genre scene in the Boston School manner. He later spent much of his life in Chatham on Cape Cod where he produced many paintings of scenes in Chatham, Harwich and the Outer Cape. He was editor of the Cape Cod Beacon and also Director of the Chatham Summer Art Classes from 1915 to the 1950s.
Harold Dunbar exhibited at the Boston Art Club, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., the American Watercolor Society and the Art Institute, Chicago. His work is represented in collections at Radcliffe College, the State House in Montpelier, Vermont, Beuchner Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio, Empire Theatre in New York City, Museum of the City of New York, Municipal Collection of McPherson, Kansas and Little Theatre, Chatham, MA .
The painting is in very good condition. The paint surface appears clean and there are no indications of any inpainting or losses. There are very fine horizontal lines of paint separation scattered across the surface of the painting, a natural result of the wood panel support contracting and expanding. When viewing the painting in person, I do not find them to be obtrusive. The paint surface is very stable and strongly adheres to the wooden support. There is an inscription on the reverse in red which I believe to be in the artist's hand: "Bridge Over the Dyver, Bruges Harold C. Dunbar". There is another inscription which may or may not be by the artist in pencil: "De La Main D'or", which translates from French to ".. of the Golden Hand", a reference to the location. The frame is an older gold finish frame.
Harold Dunbar painting, "Bridge Over The Dyver, Bruges", oil on panel