An exceptionally beautiful, highly impressionistic oil on wood panel painting, (actually double-sided), by Ontario Society of Artists (O.S.A.) Canadian painter ESTELLE MURIEL KERR (1897-1971). The work, 10 1/2" by 7 1/4" (14 1/2" by 11" framed), features a woman in long dark coat and hat, her back turned to the viewer, as she ponders a fountain and pool in an urban setting, possibly the Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris, or similar site. The artist created a painting that reminds of works by much more important artists, such as Childe Hassam or one of the French Impressionists. Kerr studied in Toronto with Mary Ella Dignam and Laura Muntz Lyell, before further study for two years in New York at the Art Students League and two more years in Paris at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. She traveled and painted in Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Holland. An ambulance driver during World War I, she went on to publish a number of illustrated children's books, including "Little Sam in Volendam". Kerr also contributed numerous stories and poems to Canadian and American publications. Her works seem to be quite rare, with only a few auction records in Canada. Evidently she was very active in the 1930's with the Ontario Society of Artists and other major art groups in Canada. After 1940, she seems to have taken a lower profile. The painting on the reverse is an oil sketch of two women on a terrace, with suggestion of an elegant urban setting. The painting (front side) was recently cleaned, revealing subtle dabs of color that had been hidden by grime. The front side of the wood panel itself seems to be of a somewhat irregular surface, (see angled photo), which the artist simply painted over. This is possibly an advanced sketch, very spontaneously and beautifully painted. A rare work by a highly underrated artist.
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