An oil on board painting of a landscape with lonely structures and trees, a mountain behind, unsigned, by famed Utah artist LeConte STEWART (1891-1990). On the reverse in old pencil writing is "American Artist/Nov. 1955/Library/Back page/by LeConte Stewart/"Spring in Eden"/oil 16 x 20". Even though this appears to be an autumn scene, it might well be early spring when the land is still brown from winter and the leaves are yellowish before they fully open. I am attempting to find a copy of this magazine so as to be able to see if the work be indeed illustrated there. Stewart was born in Sevier County, Utah to an early Mormon family (his grandfather met Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, Illinois). After a short time in Idaho he headed east for art training at the Art Students League in New York and at the Pennsylvania Academy. Despite his father's attempts to steer his career elsewhere, the art instinct persisted and by 1938 Stewart headed the University of Utah art department (until 1956). He taught generations of students and tried to instill in them his respect for landscape and "god's creations". Stewart eschewed the famous landscapes and focused instead on the everyday roadside scenes where the beauty just needed someone to capture and freeze it. He worked in landscape but also created murals for public spaces including LDS temples, and the Salt Lake airport. Prints and works in other media are known. Said to be prolific, today his work seems to be rarely encountered, there being few auction records. In 2002, the governor of Utah declared "LeConte Stewart Day" in the state. In 2011 the Utah Museum of Fine Art and the LDS Church staged a large exhibition of Stewart's work. To this day, the term "LeConte Stewart country" refers to a humble scene of rural Utah, such as we see in this example. Condition: board is slightly warped, surface is dull (no varnish) and there are edge abrasions and slightly dog-eared corners. A rare opportunity to acquire a work by this artist.
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