** PAIR** American 19th century oil on board landscape paintings in Hudson River style, each signed at lower right by listed artist FRANKLIN JAY LEWIS (1838-1910). The feathery trees, color scheme and general handling are in the tradition of the Hudson River School of the eastern states, but these scenes may in fact have been painted in California. The artist was born in Wells, Vermont, and crossed the continent at great effort in 1868, arriving in San Jose, California to begin a new life. Lewis and family became established in their new state, moving on to the state capital, Sacramento. Lewis painted landscapes, which are evidently very scarce; personally I have never seen another work by this artist. The panels on which they are painted bear red Paris art supplier stencils. While it is possible that these are in fact Vermont-painted, pre-1868 works, they are more likely California scenes. There is some inpainting at bottom of one work, and scattered inpaint elsewhere. The scenes are very peaceful and poetic. Although the pair is in identical framing, actual measurements of paintings and frames vary slightly: 12" by 14 1/4" (18 1/4" by 21" framed) for one, 12" by 15 1/4" (18 1/2" by 21 3/4" framed) for the other. Both are signed at lower right; signature on the second one is more difficult to read/photograph than the signature on the other painting, of which an image is provided. They do not appear to be dated but the age could be anywhere from mid 1860's through about 1890. Condition is excellent considering the age, though the works exhibit some of the usual conditions seen in 19th century paintings---some stable craquelure, uneven varnish, a small loss or two, and some small areas of inpainting, especially in the painting with the foreground split fence, there being some old cracking in that area. Seen head-on and at normal viewing distance, this is not noticeable.
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