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Mossy Tree, ca. 1919
Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876–1958)

View Artist Bio
Watercolor on paper
13 x 5 1/2 inches (sight)
Status: Available

I think that this watercolor is from 1919.

Why?

Because in that year Alice released a famous woodblock print called "Mossy Tree."  The print was 11 7/8 x 7 inches. 

And I think this might be a watercolor study in preparation for that.  It appears that this watercolor is a bit larger than the print.  It also has less detail.  But the shape of the tree with the moss is substantially the same.

Alice's good friend Helen Hyde died in that year, and then Alice ceased producing woodblocks and turned her attention back to watercolors fully.

The marks around the edges are obviously from staples.

This is one method of stretching watercolor paper.

It had been taught to me by my mother, Talulah Lemmon McInvaill, that Alice used tape.  But she assuredly had access to staplers in the early 20th century.  So, this is proof that she employed staples, also.

To see how watercolorists use staples to do the same thing, today, please see this video typical of the technique:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh2htUGVH2E

The Julia Homer Wilson/Juran Collection of Small Works by Alice R. Huger Smith – Some Thoughts

By Dwight McInvaill, author with Caroline Palmer & Anne Tinker of Alice: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Charleston Renaissance Artist (Middleton Place Foundation/Evening Post Books, 2021)—July 22, 2022

 

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