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Cat. no. 86-27

Easter Sunday Afternoon, Grand Canyon

Date: Dec-86
Item Type: Painting
Support: Canvas (Cotton Or Linen)
Dimensions: 72 X 116
Agent / Institution: Altermann Dallas


Easter Sunday Afternoon, Grand Canyon. 72 x 116.

1. This painting was named for the afternoon in 1986 that we set up
and painted the studies from which this large canvas was derived. The
south rim was a comfortable seventy degrees, absolutely calm, and the
sky was cloudless. As the lowering sun sent its shadows across the
terraced walls there came a perfect time when the view was half in
sunlight and half in shade. A moment that shows it when it is most
peaceful and beautiful.
2. In 1996 Wilson wrote in a letter to
John McMullen, the purchaser through Altermann:
In the mid 1980s I
started wondering about the possible format for painting the Grand
Canyon the way I thought it should be painted. As early as the 1960s I
had tried to paint large canvasses, and it seemed that the bigger the
canvas, the more feeling of the Grand Canyon came across in the
painting.This led me to do a series of small paintings of the Grand
Canyon in an attempt to create a sense of the whole. These paintings
were exhibited in a show in Flagstaff and sold separately to various
collectors. Later I decided to go to the canyon and paint two related
canvasses. The first was painted off Maricopa Point. It measured 6
feet by 10 feet and showed a rain storm in the canyon. It was
purchased by (the) Gene Autry (Museum) and hangs at one of the
entranceways in his museum in Los Angeles. [87-05, "Passing Time,
Eternal Beauty" 72 x 118.] The other painting of the same dimensions
was entitled "Easter Sunday Afternoon, Grand Canyon," which is the
painting in your possession. The two canvasses were painted from
separate points of view at different times of day and different
weather. Therefore they do not enhance each other when hung together.
So I sent them to market separately and thus they had different
histories. To overcome the difficulties I had experienced, I tried
again painting three canvasses from one viewpoint off the Kaibab train
in the form of a triptych. This was more successful and is hanging in
the lobby of the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. [1991-4 a,b,c,
"October Suite, Grand Canyon," 72 x 90, 72 x 132, 72 x 90.] All of
these experiments culminated in the triptych of the Grand Canyon done
from Cedar Ridge 2000 feet down in the canyon, which is hanging at the
National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. [1994-1, -2, -3.] So
[this painting] is essentially designed to hang by itself the way you
have it at present. It is however done to a scale that in my opinion
probably communicates the vastness of the canyon. It was painted in
the studio from colors on an oil painting that measures 12 x 24 inches
that I did directly from life at the canyon with the sun on the rocks
and a clear sky with the air calm and the temperature at a comfortable
75 degrees. It was as peaceful and as pleasant as I have ever seen it,
and I hope some of the strong but quiet beauty comes through on the
face of the work.

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