This painting from a late mid-century master is an excellent example of primitive Americana folk art, comparable to Grandma Moses. Erwin Neusch (b. 1892), like his father before him, was a wood carver who started his work by doing church pews. After an illness in 1943, he was no longer able to continue in this work and he opened an antique shop, where he also did painting restoration, in New York City. At the age of 72, he began to paint! He continued his activity until his death at 100 in 1993.
Neusch was interested in early American life and so his style is reminiscent of those painters from the 19th C. His scenes often depict rural and maritime life in the new nation. Living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and New York City, this scene probably depicts either the Hudson River Valley or Delaware River Valley. Five small sailboats peruse through the waters, with two of them tied up. Three fishermen are on the dock - one already with his line in the river! Two roatboats frolic in the currents and a lady with parasol watches from the shore. These early water sports find a most serene, natural setting in the lush green valley and pale blue and white sky of the area. Neusch's signature can be detected to the bottom right - on the dock beneath an eager fisher's feet. The canvas truly captures the American spirit and celebrates its mastery of the once threatening wilderness. The reddish-brown frame is sturdy and complements the artwork beautifully. Neusch originally was a woodcarver, so it is quite spectacular to have both the canvas and the frame from the same hand. The frame has a few nicks in it (see photos), but overall it is doing fine. Such a painting would make a wonderful addition to any collection of American art.
16 in. x 20 in.
Oil on Canvas "Water Sports" 16 x 20 in. Painting and Frame by Erwin Neusch