Gilbert Gaul (New York/Tennessee/New Jersey, 1855-1919) oil on board interior scene painting depicting an African American woman seated by a window, working on a needlework project. Light from the overhead window illuminates her white blouse and part of the fabric in her hands. Signed lower right. Housed in a carved gilt wood frame. Sight – 9 1/2″ H x 8 1/4″ W. Framed – 14 1/2″ H x 13 1/4″ W. Provenance: Private Southern Collection. Biography: New Jersey born artist Gilbert Gaul studied art with Lemuel E. Wilmarth at the school of the National Academy of Design from 1872 to 1876, and privately with the noted genre painter, J. G. Brown. He continued his training at the Art Students League during 1875 and 1876. Gaul first exhibited his work at the National Academy in 1877. In 1881, he inherited a farm in Van Buren County, Tennessee, from his mother’s family, and lived there four years to fulfill terms of the bequest. In 1885, he returned to New York though he also continued to spend time at the farm in Tennessee. Gaul gained acclaim for his illustration art and portrayals of Civil War scenes. He became a regular exhibitor at the National Academy annuals between 1877 and 1902; in 1882, he was accorded the status of full academician-the youngest artist to attain the honor. He exhibited at the 1889 Paris Exposition; the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and the 1902 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, where he was awarded medals. In 1876 Gaul made his first trip to the American West, an area for which he developed a particular affinity. He made numerous western trips in subsequent years, photographing and rendering scenes of Native Americans and the frontier, which he would later work up into paintings in his studios in New York or Tennessee. In 1890, he worked for the United States census on reservations in North Dakota. He also visited Mexico, the West Indies, Panama, and Nicaragua. An account of his travels was published in Century Magazine in 1892. In 1904, he returned to Tennessee and settled in Nashville. The decreasing interest in Civil War subjects resulted in financial hardship for Gaul. He gave private art lessons, and taught at the Watkins Institute, Nashville, and at Cumberland Female College, in McMinnville. He also spent time in Charleston, South Carolina. By 1910, he had moved to Ridgefield, New Jersey, where he continued to paint and live out his remaining years. (source: The Johnson Collection). CONDITION: 1/4″ area of slight scratch to sitter’s cheek. A couple of very slight abrasions left margin. Slight wear to frame with possible repairs to a couple of corners.
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