William Posey Silva (TN/CA 1859-1948) oil on canvas depicting the Cravens House on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, south of Chattanooga (now incorporated in the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park. Signed lower left corner. Titled outer right margin in pen: Lookout Battlefield. Unframed. 18" H x 22" W. Note: The Cravens house, built by iron merchant Robert Cravens, figured prominently in the Civil War Battle of Chattanooga. It was used by both Union and Confederate armies as an observation post and headquarters. On Nov. 23, 1863, Maj. General Carter Stevenson, CSA, signaled Gen. Bruxton Bragg from the house, indicating a possible Union attack on Lookout Mountain. The so-called Battle Above the Clouds was fought the next day on the plateau on which the Cravens' home stood, and the house itself was overtaken by the Union Army. Although the structure survived the battle with only minor damage, it was later destroyed by Union soldiers during a drunken brawl. The Cravens returned after the war and rebuilt the house, adding a third level. It was donated to the National Park in 1893. Artist biography: William Posey Silva was born in Savannah, Georgia, and spent his first fifty years of life successfully running his family's chinaware business. In 1887 he moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and began taking art instruction. He enrolled in the Academie Julian in Paris as a student of Jean Paul Laurens and also painted with American impressionist Chauncey Ryder. He had his first solo exhibition in 1909 at the Georges Petit Gallery in Paris. That same year he returned to Chattanooga and began winning American acclaim for his impressionistic paintings of picturesque subject matter including Chattanooga landscapes and the pine forests near Savannah. He won the silver medal at the 1910 Appalachian Exposition in Knoxville and had a solo exhibition at the Telfair Academy in Savannah in 1917. He moved to Washington DC and eventually to California in 1913. He was also a member of the California Art Club and the Salmagundi Club. Condition: Unframed. Paint loss and retouched in two areas: lower left corner of front porch (1/4" diameter) and in lower right quadrant along perimeter in brown grass (1" H x 3/16" at widest). Rubbing to perimeter. Overall craquelure.
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