John E. Costigan (American, 1888-1972) was a native of Providence, Rhode Island. He was a skilled landscape and figure painter who disdained portraits because "the subjects want flattering pictures." Costigan was extremely interested in painting the continuance of nature and focused his work on genre and pastoral scenes set on his rural farm. His work often highlights the joy of motherhood, security of childhood and a rapport with animals and nature. He was devoted to the woods around his home and regarded the city only as "a market place for what comes off the land, be it livestock or art." He was well known for the unity of his subject matter, painting texture, and the emotions his subject matter evoked. His paintings often reflected the joys of motherhood and idyllic country living.
He was orphaned and raised in New York by his aunt and uncle, the parents of songwriter, George M. Cohan. Mainly self-taught, Costigan studied briefly at the Art Students League and worked as a lithographer of theater posters. From that job he learned the printing processes that he later used in his many etchings. He began making his name in the fine arts in 1920, and throughout the decade, reaped numerous important prizes for his oils, watercolors and prints.
In the late 1960s, he enjoyed a revival of interest in his fine arts talents when more than 50 pieces were borrowed from museums and private collections to be toured nationally in a Smithsonian-sponsored Costigan retrospective.
In 1968 a 50-year Costigan retrospective was exhibited and toured by the Smithsonian Institute.
Throughout his lifetime Costigan received numerous awards and his work is in museum collections across the country.
Costigan died of pneumonia in 1972, having painted for more than fifty years of his life.
Country of Origin: U. S. A.
Title: "Figures with Cow"
Size: 9 by 13 7/8 inches (22.9 by 35.2 cm) framed under glass 14 3/4 by 19 3/4 inches.
Signed and titled: in pencil in lower margin.
Published by Associated American Artists, New York
Condition: Light overall paper discoloration. Not examined out of frame.
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