A vintage oil on canvasboard portrait painting of an elegant younger woman, painted circa late 1930's to 1940, 18" by 14", unframed, signed at lower right by listed Southern California artist BERTHA TOWNSEND COLER (1865-1948). The work is painted in a soft focus, impressionistically, with a brisk but sure hand, by an obviously talented portraitist. Coler was born in Ohio and studied with Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase in New York City. These legendary teachers and artists urged students to break away from the stifling influences of 19th century academic art, in favor of the exploration of color and brushstroke, in order to thereby make a complete artistic statement. This spontaneously executed painting shows that influence. By 1928 Color had moved to Santa Monica, California and for the next two decades was a prolific painter in watercolor and oil, concentrating on portraits and still life, with some landscapes in the mix. Coler was a member of Women Painters of the West; she exhibited at the Santa Monica library in 1933, at the Santa Monica Art League in 1934, and at the prestigious Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco in 1939. Recently, a large group of her oils and watercolors were offered in a sale at the Pacific Palisades home of her descendants, and I was fortunate to have acquired a number of these works, which I will be offering in my shop.
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