FROST, Arthur Burdett (1851-1928). An Album of Fine Pencil Sketches of Architectural and Rural Scenes in New England, May 1914 - July 1915.

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FROST, Arthur Burdett (1851-1928). An Album of Fine Pencil Sketches of Architectural and Rural Scenes in New England, May 1914 - July 1915.

Oblong 4to., (5 4/8 x 9 inches). 18 pages of pencil drawings of portraits, and rural and architectural scenes in New England, including Lenox in Massachusetts, Columbia Hall, West Hill, New Hartford and Bakerville Connecticut, and including a FINE SELF-PORTRAIT dated May 1914. Original silver silk over boards.

"For more than fifty years Frost was one of the best illustrators of the American country scene, admired and appreciated by both artists and the public. His work appeared in Harper's Weekly, Scribner's, Collier's, Century, Puck, and Life. As a humorist, he knew how to blend both the real and the ridiculous to create visual images for the forms he and others wrote about. In more than ninety books and countless articles written by Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Joel Chandler Harris, Theodore Roosevelt, Sir Walter Scott, Frank R. Stockton, Mark Twain, and many others he created the picture worth a thousand words" (Constance Koppelman for ANB).

Frost's first success were his illustrations to "Out of the Hurly Burly", 1874, "which sold more than a million copies, including foreign translations, and launched Frost's career as an illustrator. At first he worked at New York Graphic, and then he worked for ten years at Harper and Brothers. At Harper's, Charles Parsons, the head of the art department, encouraged him with illustration assignments for Harper's Weekly and for books the company published by the leading authors of the day. Frost's earliest pen-and-ink drawings were done on wood, cut by an engraver, and then the printing was done from the original wood block. This tedious woodcut process was superseded by improved technology during the last quarter of the century. About 1876 Frost began working in watercolor and gouache, an opaque medium, primarily in black and white, grey, and sepia, as did most illustrators, because reproduction technology at the time was limited to those colors. Frost was color-blind, but he had a strong sense of light and shade, so this was particularly appropriate. Whatever the medium, his art fell into two categories, finished individual illustrations and comic line sketches in story sequence that were precursors of comics.

"In 1890 [Frost] purchased a 120-acre estate at Convent Station near Morristown, New Jersey, which with characteristic humor was named "Moneysunk." He had always loved outdoor life, especially hunting, rowing, and fishing, but now he took up sports that were new in the United States: golf and bicycling. All these activities became a part of his portfolio of subjects to illustrate; his drawings were the unglamorized record of the ideas and manners of country folk. While other artists depicted the western United States, Frost pictorially reproduced the eastern story with charm and matchless humor.

"Like many illustrators, Frost wanted also to be a painter, so in 1884 he attempted his first oil paintings. In 1891 he took a few painting lessons from William Merritt Chase, and he exhibited two paintings at the Paris Exposition of 1900. His illustrations, however, were what popular magazine and book publishers of his day wanted and what brought him lasting fame.

"With two sons who became painters and his wife, Frost spent eight years in Europe, mostly in a house at Giverny, France, near Claude Monet, whom he admired. When he returned to the United States in October 1914, 300 members of the Society of Illustrators attended a dinner in his honor that included a skit with costumed characters from his illustrations" (ibid). Catalogued by Kate Hunter