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South End of Hood River Valley

Origin: America, Oregon
Unframed: 20" x 33 3/8" (50.8 cm x 85.1 cm.) and Framed: 21 1/2" x 34 7/8". (54.6 cm x 88.5 cm.)
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1957.102.2,A
A snowcapped mountain appears in the distance, dominating the scene under a blue, cloudless sky. Geometrically laid out fields and orchards mingle with blue and green rolling hills. Three red buildings are slightly to left of center. There are several white and some yellow houses. A river cuts through (and seems to disappear in) the middle of the picture, with a fork in it shown to the right. There are fir trees in the lower right corner plus, closer to center in the foreground, a fruit orchard. Irrigation pipes snake across the foreground. There is a white hipped roof house at far right in the lower corner.
The 1-inch flat, black-painted frame probably was added by Knoedler's, AARFAM's source.
Label:After camping along the Wind River in Washington State, Harley proceeded south to the Hood River valley, where he painted this view and one other of the mountain from a closer vantagepoint (acc. no. 2004.102.1). Snowcapped Mount Hood looms large in the distance, while the center and foreground show a series of rolling hills and neatly partitioned fields dotted with red barns and white and yellow houses.

Few details escaped Harley's attention, including the irrigation pipes surrounding a number of the fields. Although not mentioned by the artist in his title inscribed on the back of the picture, the white water at lower right probably represents the Hood River, which traverses this fertile, verdant northwestern valley.

One could hardly call this a wilderness landscape since much of its subject is domestic and related to agrarian pursuits. Except for a dark green stand of forest at center left and the modest scattering of trees across the hills, most of the vegetation represents local field crops and orchards, not unlike the farmlands Harley knew in Michigan. It must have been the prominent view of Mount Hood that intrigued the artist and occasioned the painting.

Provenance:From the artist to Robert Lowry (1919-1994); to an unidentified dealer; to M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY. [See letter from Elizabeth Clare of Knoedler's of Oct. 8, 1958].

Inscription(s):On the reverse in blue paint appears: "South end Hood River Valley, Ore./Mt. Hood in distance, taken/Aug. 22, 1927./Painted By/S.W. Harley."