Watercolor on paper, 22 1/4" by 15", unframed, signed at lower right in black ink "N. P. Briganti", the subject a forest glade with trees, boulders and grasses. The painting is by NICHOLAS P. BRIGANTE (1895-1989), a California painter often confused with the Italian painter of Venice scenes, Nicholas Briganti with an "i". Brigante was born in Italy, and was in Los Angeles as a child. According to the Hughes biography, he was a sign painter and studied under Hanson Puthuff. After World War I he met Stanton MacDonald-Wright and explored their mutual interest in Oriental art. By 1921 his work was exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and a few years later, at the Brooklyn Museum. An exhibition of his work was shown at the prestigious Stendhal Gallery in Los Angeles in the late 1930's. Later in his career his work became much more modernist in appearance. I don't know how to date this example---a guess would be the 1940's but that's just a guess. One mystery is that upon close examination of the signature area, the word "Millard" is written, in a hand that is to me reminiscent of Millard Sheets. There are other words after that but I am unable to decipher them, after much trying. I wonder if perhaps the work could be a collaboration between Brigante and Sheets, or if there might have been some other tie between the artists. Condition is good, though the work is unframed and unmatted. This is a fine example of the California School watercolor by a talented artist. .
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