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T. ALLEN LAWSON An American Vision: from Wyoming to Maine


Jonathan Cooper 20 Park Walk  London  SW10 0AQ t: +44 (0)20 7351 0410 mail@jonathancooper.co.uk jonathancooper.co.uk


T. ALLEN LAWSON An American Vision: from Wyoming to Maine


T. ALLEN LAWSON

John Russell Taylor

Of all American states, Maine is one of the least vocal about its beauties and special qualities. The most northern part of New England, tucked away between the southward bulge of New Brunswick, Canada, and the north Atlantic, it is largely agricultural and keeps itself to itself. Nevertheless, it has been the chosen home of Tim Allen Lawson for many years, and one need only look at his work to see why. But while the landscape of Maine is largely calm and pastoral, with large skies, vast undramatic fields and simple, classic buildings, that is by no means all Lawson chooses to paint. Born and brought up in Wyoming, in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, he loves also the rugged drama of his native state, and recently established an alternative base back there, on a horse ranch much like that on which he was raised. Whatever the nature of his surroundings, his art is always based on the natural world, its light and shade, its ever-changing weather. For many years he practised happily as a pleinair painter, but more recently he has reverted to the once-conventional pattern of sketching in the open and painting from his sketches in his Maine studio or his studio in Wyoming. He Left: SPRING GREENS, plate 7 (detail)

does not even discount the use of photographs, but tells his students, “Use photographs as a tool, not a crutch”. Though his art is always meticulously realistic, it never really looks like that of the photorealists, no doubt because he does not himself need photography, being already a brilliant draughtsman, happy to show his preparatory drawings alongside the finished oils. In this he is at one with his seniors, the American Regionalist painters such as Andrew Wyeth, Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton; there is even a kinship with the more urbanly interested Edward Hopper. There was a moment, shortly after the Second World War, when one particular Regionalist painting, Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World, created a sensation in Britain, but then Regionalist painting was suddenly eclipsed by the intensely promoted (possibly oversold?) Abstract Expressionists, so that Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning are today well known names over here, while the Regionalists are largely forgotten. But not, of course, in the States, where painters in that succession, like Lawson, are highly prized. Trained initially at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where the courses were, in the best possible sense, academic, and with the wonders


of the Chicago Art Institute collection hard by for inspiration, Lawson’s realistic approach was deeply ingrained. This did not mean, however, that his style was fixed, early on. In his pleinair days, it was noticeably more Impressionistic that it is today. But then he has always been a thoughtful, knowledgeable painter; there has never been anything improvisatory about his work. And since his move to painting primarily in the studio, his workmanship has only become richer and more subtle, involving a gradual building-up of colour and texture in tiny strokes.

such as Remington might have turned into a melee of equine action, in Lawson it is emotion (and motion) recollected in tranquillity. From childhood he has been at home with horses, but consequently they are for him part of life’s rich tapestry, very much like the monumental Rockies which border his childhood home. In any case, he is more interested artistically in the quieter animals, like cattle and sheep, not to mention the deer that occasionally wander into view, or the ducks that look surprisingly cheery trying to peck a living from the frozen land.

All this supports what is perhaps Lawson’s greatest single gift, his ability to capture the nature and quality of light. Whether he is evoking the relaxing warmth of a lazy summer’s afternoon on the farm, or the chill sparkle of a snowy field in winter, the distinctive light is always intensely felt and precisely observed. This produces the magical effect to be experienced in all his landscapes, and indeed in his occasional studies in urban (surely small-town) architecture, or even the odd flower painting.

For me, the greatest wonder of Lawson’s art is in his snow scenes. I cannot think of an artist who captures so vividly and eloquently the feeling of a land covered in snow, and the wintry sunlight that reflects from it. Among the Impressionists Monet in particular delighted in snow scenes. But Lawson betters even him. Extraordinary that an artist whose personality comes over as so warm and humane should be so at home with the freezing cold. But that is just one more testimony to the range and strength of his art. It seems extraordinary that an artist of Lawson’s calibre should have had to wait until his fifties to be introduced to the British public. But at least it must be said of him, once seen, never forgotten.

Lawson is a master of the timeless moment. Even where, in some of the Wyoming paintings, he has tackled a subject that a cowboy artist Right: WINTER’S WALK, plate 14 (detail)


Influences & inspirations

Fig 1.

Fig 2.

George Carlson

Ron Kingswood

Umatilla Rock 2011

Manhattan 2001

oil on linen

oil on canvas

42 × 42 in (106.7 × 106.7 cm)

88 × 77 in (223.5 × 195.6 cm)

Plate 4.

Plate 14.

T. Allen Lawson

T. Allen Lawson

Barn Below the Big Horns

Winter’s Walk


Fig 3.

Fig 4.

Fig 5.

Jamie Wyeth

William Nicholson

Antonio Lo ´pez

Berg 2011

The Gate of Honour under Snow 1924

Gran Via 1974-1981

gesso, gouache, watercolour

oil on canvas

oil on board

on toned paper board

24 × 20.25 in (61.2 × 51.4 cm)

36.81 × 35.67 in (93.5 × 90.6 cm)

41.25 × 36 in (104.8 × 91.4 cm)

Plate 16.

Plate 12.

Plate 10.

T. Allen Lawson

T. Allen Lawson

T. Allen Lawson

January’s Deposit

Color Study of Grain Silo

Divine Light


1

T H E WA T E R I N G H O L E

oil on panel 13.5 × 18.5 in (34.3 × 47 cm)


2

STUDY – EVENING TREE

graphite on handmade paper 20 × 20 in (50.8 × 50.8 cm)


3 EVENING

oil on panel 28 × 30 in (71.1 × 76.2 cm)


4

BARN BELOW THE BIG HORNS

oil on panel 24 × 16 in (61 × 40.6 cm)


5

T H E PA L E S U I T O R

oil on panel 7.75 × 9.25 in (19.7 × 23.5 cm)


6

T H E S C A L E O F O P E R AT I O N S

oil on linen over panel 19.5 Ă— 25 in (49.5 Ă— 63.5 cm)


7

SPRING GREENS

oil on linen over panel 20 × 26 in (51 × 66 cm)


8

MORNING COMMUTE

oil on panel 14 × 12 in (35.6 × 30.5 cm)


9 LILACS

oil on linen over panel 14 × 12 in (35.6 × 30.5 cm)


10 D I V I N E L I G H T

graphite and charcoal on paper 42 Ă— 24 in (106.7 Ă— 61 cm)


11 T H E S A L T L I C K

oil on panel 26 × 28 in (66 × 71 cm)


12 C O L O R S T U D Y O F G R A I N S I L O

oil on linen over panel 10 × 7.25 in (25.4 × 18.4 cm)

13 S I L O

mixed media on handmade paper 28 × 22 in (71.1 × 55.9 cm)


14 W I N T E R ’ S WA L K

oil on panel 15.75 × 14 in (40 × 35.5 cm)


15 O P E N R A N G E

oil on linen over panel 12 Ă— 18 in (30.5 Ă— 45.7 cm)


16 J A N U A R Y ’ S D E P O S I T

oil on linen over panel 9 × 10.5 in (23 × 26 cm)


17 F E B R U A R Y ’ S F O R A G E

oil on linen over panel 8.25 × 9.25 in (21 × 23.5 cm)


18 P I G

oil on linen over panel 26 Ă— 28 in (66 Ă— 71.1 cm)


19 M O R N I N G R E F L E C T I O N S

oil on panel 14.25 × 16 in (36.2 × 40.6 cm)


T. ALLEN LAWSON Born in Wyoming, USA, 1963 Lives and works in Sheridan, Wyoming and Rockport, Maine E D U C AT I O N Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT American Academy of Art, Chicago, IL H O N O U R S A N D A WA R D S Prix De West Purchase Award and the Robert Lougheed Memorial Artists’ Choice Award, 2017 Robert Lougheed Memorial Award, Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition, 2016 Directors’ Choice for Outstanding Landscape, Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition, 2016 Founder’s Prize, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, 2010 Golden Thunderbird Award-Best of Show, Maynard Dixon Country, 2006 Artists’ Choice Award, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, 2000 William E. Weiss Purchase Award, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, 2000 Jurors’ Choice Award, Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, 1999 Red Smith Memorial Award, National Museum of Wildlife Art, 1995 John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Grant, 1994 PUBLIC COLLECTIONS Brinton Museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West Campbell County Library Denver Art Museum Farnsworth Art Museum Forbes Magazine Collection Portland Museum of Art Sheridan State Bank Smithsonian Institution Tia Collection Wells Fargo The Permanent Collection of the White House, Washington, DC Yale University Art Gallery SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2011 2011 2009 2008 2007 2004 2000 1996 1996 1995

Neighbors – Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Cody, WY Growth Rings – Ten High Street Gallery – Camden, ME Works on Paper – The Easton Gallery – Santa Barbara, CA On Home Ground – Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Cody, WY New Maine Work – Ten High Street Gallery – Camden, ME Works in Maine – Ten High Street Gallery – Camden, ME Works on Paper – The Craven Gallery – Martha’s Vineyard, MA Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Washington, DC Cloud Peak and Beyond – The Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery – Lindsborg, KS Cloud Peak and Beyond – The Brinton Museum – Big Horn, WY


1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1987 1986

Signatures in Snow – The Cooley Gallery – Old Lyme, CT Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Washington, DC A Change in Seasons – Chatham Fine Art – Livingston, MT Teton Diary – Partner’s Gallery – Jackson, WY Four Seasons Plaza – Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill Club – Washington, D.C. Caucus Room/Russell Senate Building – Washington, D.C. Four Seasons Plaza – Washington, D.C. A Western View – Powder River Gallery – Jackson, WY

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS 2014 – 16 2015 – 17 2013 2012 – 13 2011 – 13 2012 2009 – 12 2011 2011 2010 – 11 2009 2008 2008 2007 2007 2004 – 07 2004 – 07 2006 2006 2005 – 06 2005 2005 2004 – 05 1988 – 05 1998 1997 1993 1988

Prix de West – National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum – Oklahoma City, OK Masterpiece – Jonathan Cooper – London, UK 25th Anniversary Exhibition – Jonathan Cooper – London, UK The West Select – Phoenix Art Museum – Phoenix, AZ Masters of the American West – The Autry National Center – Los Angeles, CA The Landscape Tradition – David Findlay Jr Gallery – New York, NY Maynard Dixon Country – Mt. Carmel, UT Wipfler and the Boys – Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Cody, WY Four in Maine – Farnsworth Art Museum – Rockland, ME Western Horizons: Landscapes from the Contemporary Realism Collection – Denver Art Museum – Denver, CO Anniversary Show – Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Cody, WY 20th Anniversary Exhibition – Jonathan Cooper – London, UK Counterbalance – Gerald Peters Gallery – New York, NY From the Heart – Haggin Museum – Stockton, CA A Century of American Still Life Painting – Gerald Peters Gallery – New York, NY From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America – Haggin Museum – Stockton, CA Maynard Dixon Country – Mt. Carmel, UT Canyons & Rivers – Gerald Peters Gallery – Santa Fe, NM Western Rendezvous of Art Show & Sale – Helena, MT From Thumbnail to Finish – Simpson Gallagher Gallery – Cody, WY Painting the American West – University of Wyoming – Laramie, WY Variations on a Theme – Gerald Peters Gallery – Santa Fe, NM Capturing the Missouri: Lewis and Clark Revisited – The Old Court House, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – St. Louis, MO Western Visions – National Museum of Wildlife Art – Jackson, WY On Tour in Normandy – Forbes Magazine Galleries – New York, NY Trinchera Ranch – Forbes Magazine Galleries – New York, NY A Year in Review – Reserve Officers Association – Washington, D.C. Arts for the Parks – Top 100 – Jackson, WY


With thanks to Desmond Banks, George Carlson, Ron Kingswood, Antonio López, John Russell Taylor, and Jamie Wyeth

Fig 1. Umatilla Rock 2011 © George Carlson Fig 2. Manhattan 2001 © Ron Kingswood Fig 3. Berg 2011 © Jamie Wyeth Fig 4. William Nicholson 1872-1949 The Gate of Honour under Snow 1924 Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK © Desmond Banks/Bridgeman Images Fig 5. Antonio Lo´pez Gran Via 1974-1981 © DACS 2017 Image courtesy of VEGAP Image Bank

Design: Graham Rees Design Photography of Plates: Douglas Atfield Photo of T. Allen Lawson in his studio: Katherine Sfeir


Jonathan Cooper

T. Allen Lawson - An American Vision: from Wyoming to Maine  

'T. Allen Lawson - An American Vision: from Wyoming to Maine' will provide a fascinating view of contemporary America, from the vast and unc...

T. Allen Lawson - An American Vision: from Wyoming to Maine  

'T. Allen Lawson - An American Vision: from Wyoming to Maine' will provide a fascinating view of contemporary America, from the vast and unc...