By the famous and important American-born artist who lived much of his life in Europe, this is a PAIR of unframed portrait paintings of a middle aged man and middle aged woman, one signed on the reverse "Cucuel" and dated there 1934, the other not signed. The portrait of the man (on the reverse of which is a lightly sketched out female face) measures 30" by 25 1/2" and that of the woman 25 1/2" by 20". These are works by the important San Francisco born artist EDWARD ALFRED CUCUEL (1875-1954). A master impressionist, his finest and most desirable works, scenes of figures, often attractive women, in sun-dappled plein air settings, commonly bring into six figures at major auctions. A high-keyed palette and rich impasto is often employed by the artist, accounting for the appeal of the works and the high prices fetched. Cucuel was born in San Francisco to a newspaper publisher, and he worked in newspaper illustration while still in his teens. After brief instruction at the School of Design in San Francisco, Cucuel was in Paris, studying with masters Benjamin Constant, Jean Leon Gerome, Bouguereau, at the Academie Julian and Academie Colarossi. By 1896 he had returned to New York but stayed there only a short time, returning to Europe, as he seemed driven to study works of the Old Masters. By 1907 Cucuel was in Berlin, then shortly he settled in Munich where he came under the influence of Leo Putz. Munich was home to Cucuel until the outbreak of World War II forced him to leave Europe. He spent his final years in Pasadena, California. The present paintings were purchased together in South Florida in the late 1990's. Some years ago, Dr. Sabina Fliri, the expert assembling the catalogue raisonne on Cucuel, saw emailed images of these and found them to be authentic works of the artist. The paintings, having been stored for many years, have acquired a dry and dusty surface, the lower portion of the male portrait especially dusty and blanched, and there is some old moisture foxing on the reverse sides. There is a small puncture in the female portrait in the field at left. Both should be cleaned, varnished and framed. The word "Summer" appears on the stretcher of the female portrait; perhaps the artist had himself recycled the stretcher from one of his sun-dappled masterpieces! See the net for much more information on Cucuel and his art. MORE PHOTOS UPON REQUEST (Ruby allows only nine per listing).
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