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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York.

Snow on Alden Brook

Artist: Neil G. Welliver (1929 - 2005)
Date: 1983
Framed: 96 × 96 in.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2008.8
Signed: l.r.: Welliver
Place Depicted:
On View
Accession Number: 2008.8
Provenance(Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY); Mrs. Katherine Graham, New York, NY, 1984; (Alexandre Fine Art, Inc., New York, NY); purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2008
Label TextWelliver’s training under Josef Albers, the German émigré and champion of color theory, provided critical lessons that the painter carried with him to the end of his life. Among these was a thorough understanding of the shifting, amorphous relationship between realism and abstraction.

Welliver worked up his wall-size landscape paintings from smaller drawings and oil sketches made directly from nature. He transferred these studies, often with substantial changes, to large rolls of brown paper that he pricked full of holes with a tailor’s wheel, sprinkling charcoal dust through the paper onto the primed canvas. Finally, he laid in pigment on the charcoal pattern, beginning at the top left corner and moving down and across his canvas to the lower right. The resulting paintings read as both representation and abstraction. In this winter scene, for example, the scrim of snow gradually reveals itself as countless tiny flecks of paint.