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Summer Fine Art and Antique Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 9, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 227

Robert Loftin Newman O/C Painting, The Flight Into Egypt

Estimate: $2,400 - $2,800

Bid Increments

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Robert Loftin Newman (Tennessee/NY/ France, 1827-1912) oil on canvas nocturnal landscape painting, "The Flight Into Egypt", depicting Mary, attired in crimson and holding the Christ child, both seated upon an animal being led by two figures in white, along with a procession of other indistinct figures and animals in the distance. Signed lower left corner in red "R L Newman". Label en verso for Babcock Galleries, 19 East 49th Street New York. Additional, partially legible incising to stretcher with artist information lower right. Housed in a period American gilt carved and textured frame. Sight: 19 1/4" H x 29 1/4" W. Framed: 27" H x 37" W. Note: This painting is pictured on page 128 (figure 18) of the book "Robert Loftin Newman" by Marchal E. Landgren, published for The National Collection of Fine Arts by the Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington, 1974. At the time, the book listed the painting's whereabouts as unknown, with the known previous provenance as follows: "Purchased by Miss Palmie at Mrs. Sanborn's studio sale, 1909; E.C. Babcock, New York, 1926: Hon. John G. Winant, Concord, NH, 1928". It was recently discovered in a Northeastern estate sale. Artist Biography: Robert Newman was born in Richmond, Virginia, and grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is sometimes associated with Albert Pinkham Ryder, an artist with whom he shared a similar style and artistic technique. For Newman (who never knew his father) mothers and children were frequent subject matter, along with Old and New Testament themes; in fact another painting with this same title and subject is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution (accession no. 1975.57, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Webster). Newman studied briefly with Thomas Couture in Paris in 1850, and on a second trip to Paris in 1854, William Morris Hunt introduced him to J. F. Millet and to the Barbizon painters. Newman served with the Confederate forces during the Civil War before moving to New York. He returned to Tennessee in 1872 and tried to establish an academy of fine arts in Nashville, but by 1873 he was back in New York, where he resided the rest of his life. He rarely exhibited his work. (Source: Matthew Baigell, "Dictionary of American Artists"; Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"; The Smithsonian American Art Museum).


Painting has been lined. Canvas with overall craquelure due to the artist's technique, which caused the top layer of heavy paint and resin to dry more quickly than the primary layer. Some of the resulting wide traction cracks have been lightly in-painted in the right-center of the work, and there is a small area of inpainting in lower-left corner, approximately 1". See UV light photos for reference. Frame with very minor scattered abrasions, slight losses.