Francis Coates Jones 1857-1932

Spring Day

  • 36 x 30 inches (91.4 x 76.2 cm)
  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed lower right: Francis C Jones
  • 1908

Why We Love It

Spring Day is exuberant. Viewing it lifts your spirits. While some of Jones’ works can be faulted for being too “studied” or “posed”, this painting demonstrates how successful he was when he set out to record a scenic moment. While he was vacationing in western Massachusetts, he came upon this lovely garden and with deft brushwork and a lovely, lush palette, found a way to capture it.

The Value

This artist’s sale numbers are all over the board, but his most successful works have brought strong prices. This canvas is large, in perfect condition and lovely in every way. It is married to a magnificent Milch frame and is, in all ways, a show stopper. As such, it will always rank in the top tier of the artist’s oeuvre.

Artist Background

1857: Born in Baltimore, Maryland; 1876-77: Spent a year at the artist’s colony at Pont-Aven, Brittany, with his brother, landscape painter Hugh Bolton Jones; 1877-88: Lived in Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and Academie Julian. He also traveled to Switzerland and Italy and throughout France; 1888: Retured to New York City, where he taught at the National Academy of Design; 1895: Began painting murals, which he would do until his death; 1932: Died.

Francis Coates Jones painted Spring Day in the field behind the Brooks Inn in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  Eager for a break from the din of New York City, Jones and his brother, Hugh, spent several summers in Great Barrington and nearby South Egremont in the Berkshires. The inn was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Brooks, and it is believed that Jones presented the couple with this painting.

While Spring Day is not dated, it seems most likely that it comes from a series of canvases that the artist completed in the summer of 1908.  A number of these paintings were discussed in a July 1909 article entitled “The Outdoor Painting of Flowers” written by Charles Courtney Curran.  In this article, Curran singled out Jones for the beauty of these images, pointing out their “graceful stems and curling leaves touched by glints of light from the summer sky.”