From the hand of pioneering modernist painter and printmaker GEORGE CONSTANT (1892-1978), a large (28" by 19 1/2" inside the mat, 36" by 27" framed) watercolor painting of white, pink and purple lilacs in a vase, signed at lower right by the artist. This is a striking work with a pronounced modern approach to still life. The background is essentially featureless, the vase outlines very simple, and then there is the beautiful curve at bottom, more suggestive of an artist palette than a table top. Constant was born near Delphi, Greece around the end of the nineteenth century. Orphaned, he spent his early years in a monastery with a guardian, and it was there that he was exposed to Greek icons and classical Greek art. By 1910 Constant was in the United States, studying in St. Louis and then Chicago at the Art Institute. At the latter, his instructors included the likes of George Bellows and Charles Webster Hawthorne. After a short time in Dayton, Ohio, Constant moved on to New York in 1922. His contacts there included John Sloan and Walter Pach, and he exhibited at the Valentine Gallery and Downtown Gallery. During the Great Depression, Constant worked under the auspices of the Federal Art Project. The 1939 World's Fair in New York and the Golden Gate International Exposition of that year afforded increased exposure, and during the 1940's and 1950's, recognition expanded greatly, much of that attention coming from overseas. Today we see Constant's works appearing at auctions. He greatly admired Cezanne, and this work demonstrates that, but it also reminds of Raoul Dufy and maybe even Matisse. This watercolor is in excellent condition. Frame has some very minor wear.
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