Winkworth Allan Gay 1821-1910

Grez-sur-Loing

  • 9 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches (23.5 x 27.3 cm)
  • Oil on panel
  • Signed lower left: W A Gay

Why We Love It

The dark and smokey palette of this landscape reflects the influence of the French Barbizon School on Gay’s painting style. His masterful use of color, seen here in the rich green palette complimented by pinks and grays, enabled him to capture the beauty of the scene while infusing it with a sense of quiet mystery.

The Value

Most notable for a style that married Barbizon with the Hudson River School, Gay enjoyed artistic acclaim and success during his lifetime.  As with so many artists of his day, the advent of Modernism eclipsed his artistic contribution.  This small painting, in its original frame, is a marvelous example of his work and a wonderful opportunity for a new collector.

Artist Background

1821: Born in West Hingham, Massachusetts; 1838: Studied with Robert W. Weir in West Point, New York; 1840s: Lived and painted in the Boston area; 1847: Travelled throughout Europe; 1851: Returned to Boston; 1850s: Joined the West Campton artists’ colony in New Hampshire; 1873: Set off traveling again, to Europe and Egypt; 1877: Travelled to Japan and other countries in the Orient; 1881: Returned to Boston; 1910: Died in his hometown of West Hingham, Massachusetts.

The dark and smokey palette of Grez-sur-Loing reflects the influence of the French Barbizon School on Winkworth Allan Gay’s painting style. It seems reasonable to assume that he painted the work either during his first trip to Europe from 1847 to 1851, when he ended up in Paris working with Constant Troyon.

Most notable for a style that married Barbizon with the Hudson River School, Gay enjoyed artistic acclaim and success during his lifetime.  His masterful use of color, seen here in the rich green palette complimented by pinks and grays, enabled him to capture the beauty of the scene while infusing it with a sense of quiet mystery.  Clearly, Gay had an intimate understanding of natural light and great skill in communicating its essence to his viewer.

Gay was a native of Massachusetts.  He is known to have studied with Robert Weir in West Point, New York in 1838, and was painting in the Boston area in the early 1840s.  He was one of the first artists to study in Paris, leaving for Europe in 1847.  After returning to America and enjoying a fair amount of success, Gay joined the West Campton artist’s colony in New Hampshire in the late 1850s.  He had been painting the While Mountains there for almost a decade.  However, it was not long before Gay embarked on another journey.  This time his travels took him as far as Egypt and Japan.  He financed his trip by selling paintings along the way.  By 1881 he was back in Boston, where he remained until his death in 1910.

Gay’s paintings are part of such esteemed collections as the Boston Atheneaum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Hingham (Massachusetts) Historical Society, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.