Attributed to Erastus Salisbury Field (1805-1900)A pair of Paintings: The Arcadian or Pastoral State and Desolation from The Course of Empire
Each retaining its original stretcher and frame.
Oil on canvas
25 _ x 30 5/8 inches(each)
The Course of Empire is a five-part series of paintings created by Thomas Cole in the years 1833-36. The series reflected popular American sentiments of the times, when many saw pastoralism as the ideal phase of human civilization, fearing that imperialism would lead to decadence and inevitable decay.
The series was acquired by The New-York Historical Society in 1858 as a gift of the New-York Gallery of Fine Arts, and comprises the following works The Course of Empire Ð The Savage State; The Course of Empire Ð The Arcadian or Pastoral State; The Course of Empire Ð The Consummation of Empire; The Course of Empire Ð Destruction; and The Course of Empire Ð Desolation.
The series of paintings depicts the growth and fall of an imaginary city, situated on the lower end of a river valley, near its meeting with a bay of the sea. The valley is distinctly identifiable in each of the paintings, in part because of an unusual landmark: a large boulder is precariously situated atop a crag overlooking the valley. Some critics believe this is meant to contrast the immutability of the earth with the transience of man.
Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000
Condition: Both unlined and in fine condition. Each was very lightly cleaned by the present owner shortly after purchase.