Oil on canvas, 13 1/2" by 9 5/8" in its thin old frame, signed at lower center "Ellen B. Farr", the subject her typical signature pepper tree leaves and the distinctive red "berry" seed pods. Farr (1840-1907) is quite appreciated today for her California paintings of pepper trees, still life works of poppies, citrus, native indian baskets, and landscapes. Originally from New England (born in New Hampshire to a distinguished family, educated in nearby Vermont), Farr was an educated and wordly woman, for her time. Her husband was injured in a Civil War battle and died in 1880 after a law career, but Ellen continued on with her life, becoming ever more independent and entrepreneurial. As she grew older she came to think about turning her natural, and formally cultivated skills in art into a source of income. Moving to Southern California in 1887, she came to recognize the potential for selling her art to the budding new tourist trade in Pasadena and environs. (See the fine online biography by Morseburg Gallery). Today her works are sought after at auction, some bringing to the upper five figures area. This work was actually found recently in Massachusetts. In the course of its time back east, its condition has suffered. There is considerable paint loss and instability, particularly in the light field at left, but also there is significant paint loss around the signature, and a lot of scattered losses elsewhere. The actual percentage of paint loss is not grave, but the loss is all over the picture. It can be restored and stabilized and I hope that the buyer decides to invest the money to save this for history. The old frame is not especially attractive. See the net for much more on this woman artist. .
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