John William North (British, London 1842–1924 Stamborough, Somerset)
Watercolor with touches of gouache over graphite on paper
11 3/8 x 17 in. (28.9 x 43.2 cm)
Purchase, Sotheby's Gift and funds from various donors, 2000
Not on view
Like his fellow "Idyllists" Frederick Walker and George Pinwell, John William North's early training as an illustrator taught him to render ideas and emotions in evocative landscapes of dreamlike beauty. Here, the artist presents an exquisitely balanced composition: a pensive young woman stands immobilized within a verdant landscape in which only the trees, entangled by pale blossoms, pierce the stillness. Delicately detailed vegetation, close at hand, is contrasted with hazy, less-defined, distant passages. Precise, separate touches of watercolor and gouache stipple the surface of the picture, creating a shimmering effect that enhances the poetic mood. North later wrote in A Theory of Art (published in 1902) that he sought to present the "countless fairy tales told in trees and hills and streams and skies."
Signature: Signed and dated at lower right: J. W. North. RWS / 1888-90.
Christie's, London, May 22, 1990, lot 185 (bought by the following); David Fuller (British)(sold at the following); Christie's, London, April 7, 2000, lot 52; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 13, 2001–November 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 12, 2009–April 12, 2009.
Christie's, London The Fuller Collection of Victorian Landscape Watercolours Sale Catalogue. April 7, 2000, lot 52.