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Glass Lake, New York

1860-1865 (possibly)
Origin: America, New York
Unframed: 13 3/8" x 21 1/8" and Framed: 17 1/8" X 25"
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.102.15
A townscape in a hilly setting. The buildings occupy the middle of the canvas, with a lake to the right in the middle distance, and low hills in background especially to the left, and in the back right side mountains are seen through the haze in the distance. Yellowish color found in earth tones of dirt road, and sky near mountains in horizon. A dirt road borders the lake coming in from right foreground, and makes a right angle turn through the town, running back diagonally along the lake towards the mountains in the distance. A small field in the foreground is set apart from the road by a brown picket fence. Several people occupy the scene, and several wagons and teams travel along the road. The buildings are mostly yellow and white but include two brick houses.
The 2 3/16-inch molded frame, painted black with gilt liner, probably dates to the late 19th century.
Label:Glass Lake is about six miles south of Poestenkill and approximately two miles southeast of Sand Lake, another small town in upstate New York that Hidley frequented and portrayed in landscape views. The two lake towns have been confused by some historians as being the same, but a comparison of the paintings clearly indicates that they were separate, with differing landscape elements and architecture (note 1). Also, both mid-nineteenth-century and modern maps show two such locations.
Hidley's characteristic use of deep viridian greens intermingled with varying shades of blue for the far hill, trees, and other vegetation is a prominent feature of this painting since the village is small and nestled in the center of the picture and adjacent to the lake, where various men are fishing and boating. The shape and color of the scattered clouds are not only typical of Hidley's style but also capture the kind of skies known to the region during the warm months of the year. Both the sky and the lush landscape, as well as the architectural renderings, reflect his effort to portray Glass Lake faithfully as it existed in the early 1860s.
The large building at center, near the crossroads, was erected in 1860, but current research findings do not indicate when J. H. Gabler commenced his fishhouse business near or in a portion of the building, as recorded on the sign on the side. The less refined brushwork in the painting suggests an execution date earlier than those for Hidley's views of Poestenkill owned by AARFAM. However, Hidley's work varied in quality throughout his career, and the dates assigned here remain speculative.

Provenance:The Illings family, Glass Lake, NY; a Dr. Kricker, Glass Lake, NY; Mr. Woodroof, Glass Lake, NY; A. Leland Lusty, Troy, NY; J. Stuart Hallady and Herrel George Thomas, Sheffield, Mass.
Halladay died in 1951, leaving his interest in their jointly-owned collection to his partner, Thomas. Thomas died in 1957, leaving his estate to his sister, Mrs. Albert N. Petterson, who was AARFAC's vendor.
The painting's line of descent up through Lusty documented via an interview with Mrs. A. Leland Lusty at AARFAC in 1967 by curator Thomas N. Armstrong III. The Illings family owned a house in Glass Lake that subsequently was sold to Dr. Kricker, and then by him to Woodroof. The painting was included as part of the house's furnishings until its purchase by Lusty and subsequent re-sale to Halladay and Thomas. It is not known whether the picture was installed as an architectural panel in the Illings home, but the possibility exists since Hidley did such work, usually on wood.
Inscription(s):Lettered in black paint on the side of the large white building at center and near the crossroads is "Fish House-/J.H. Gabler."