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Wallowa Lake

1927-1928
Origin: America, Oregon
Unframed: 24 3/4 x 36 1/4in. (62.9 x 92.1cm) and Framed: 26 1/16 x 37 3/4 x 1 1/2in. (66.2 x 95.9 x 3.8cm)
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1957.102.4
A landscape of a large body of still water, its surface reflecting the mountains around it as well as an eagle gliding overhead. The reflections are only slightly muted from their dimensional counterparts. Four elk appear on the near shoreline, the bull of the group shown bugling. One of the cows lowers her head to view a rabbit scampering off to the right.
A narrow waterfall traces a curving path down the mountain in the distance at the left. Varying hues and shades of browns, greens, blues, and purples dominate the color scheme.
The 1-inch flat, black-painted frame probably was added by Knoedler's, AARFAM's source.
Label:Born and raised on a Michigan farm, Steve Harley found his artistic expression late in life in the magnificent scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Harley never married and remained on the Midwest farm through both his parents' lifetimes. After their deaths, Harley became restless and hostile to the confining lifestyle represented by farm life. In the mid-1920s, he set off to visit relatives in California and explore the Pacific Northwest. This landscape enthralled Harley, and he made it the subject of four of his five known oil paintings, all of which are owned by the museum along with his sketchbook and photographs. Apparently the environment also empowered him, judging by the inscription he added to the back of this painting, calling himself "invincible." Harley’s pride in this painting of Wallowa Lake, Oregon, is evident in this photograph of him holding the framed piece.
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 of the support in red paint appears: "Wallowa Lake in Wallowa Mts.,/Minam Natl., For. Resv. N. E. Ore.,/Painted By S.W. Harley/(The Invincible.)".