Walter Launt Palmer 1854-1932

Bars of Light

  • 18 x 24 inches (45.7 x 61 cm)
  • Watercolor and Gouache
  • Signed lower left: W.L. Palmer
  • 1906

Why We Love It

It’s no surprise that Palmer was named “the painter of American winter.” Indeed his best and most acclaimed paintings were his winter scenes. In Bars of Light, the green and russet-brown trees cast long blue shadows on the snow, which stretch across the open foreground. Using watercolor and gouache, Palmer renders this scene with loose transparent scumbles for the foliage as well as with thicker passage of opaque paint to capture the chunky snow.

The Value

Walter Launt Palmer’s paintings, particularly of winter, are widely collected. His consummate skill and commitment to his art earned him high standing during the height of his career. But like so many artists of his generation, his contribution to American art history was eclipsed by the advent of Modernism. Over the past 10 years his reputation was fully rehabilitated and his paintings commanded high numbers both at auction and privately. We have had the opportunity to place some of Palmer’s best work in important collections.

Artist Background

1854: Born on August 1st; 1870: Began summer studies with Frederick E. Church; 1872: First painting accepted to NAD exhibition; 1874: Travelled abroad with family and met Sargent in Florence; 1874: Enrolled in the studio of Carolus Duran; Opened studio with Church in New York City; 1878: De Forest interior exhibited at NAD; 1881: Travelled abroad again, principally in Venice; Elected a member of the Society of American Artists; 1882: Venetian scenes exhibited at NAD and SAA; 1887: Won Second Hallgarten prize at NAD for winter scene; 1890: Married Georgianna Myers; 1892: Georgianna died on July 9th; 1893: Won a “first” at Columbian World’s Fair in Chicago; 1894: Won a gold medal at the Art Club of Philadelphia; 1895: Won a gold medal at the Boston Art Club; Married Zoe de Vautrin Wyndham; 1897: Won a silver medal at Nashville Exposition; Elected Academician at NAD; 1899: Travelled to the Far East with his wife; 1900: Received Honorable Mention at the Paris World Exposition; 1901: Won silver medal at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York; 1907: Won silver medal at Philadelphia Art Club; 1910: Won bronze medal at Buenos Aires, Brazil; 1921: “Silent Dawn” acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1928: Won first and second Du Pont prizes; 1932: Died April 16th from pneumonia in Albany, New York.