Stanley Laurence Reckless 1892-1955

House in New Hope

  • 10 x 13 inches (25.4 x 33 cm)
  • Oil on board

Why We Love It

It is often the case that artists’ sketches turn out to be some of their most compelling work. Perhaps because they are usually done quickly and instinctively, they avoid the pitfall of over-thinking and belaboring elements of the picture. The Stanley Laurence Reckless oil sketches are great examples of how an artist, incorporating unpainted sections of the board and using only a few daubs of paint can create a fully developed composition. Though small, these are marvelous paintings.

The Value

It is increasingly difficult to buy truly good examples of early twentieth century American art at reasonable prices. These paintings provide an opportunity to own fine examples of a recognized Pennsylvania impressionist artist for an amount that won’t require a second mortgage. They are in excellent condition and are in fine period frames.

Artist Background

1892: Born in Philadelphia as Stanley Zbytniewski. Later changed his surname to Reckless; 1913: Enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Studied under Daniel Garber and was greatly influenced by Garber’s lyrical approach to the landscape; 1915, 1916: Awarded 2 Cresson Traveling Scholarships, where he traveled to Paris and enrolled briefly at the Academie Julian; 1920: Moved to Lumberville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Started exhibiting at PAFA, the National Academy of Design, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art; 1924: Settled in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he painted the landscape and shared a studio with Charles Hargens; 1930: Moved to California. Painted portraits of members of the film industry. Co-founded the Art School in Los Angeles; 1955: Died.

Stanley Reckless’s formal art training began at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1913.  He studied with Daniel Garber and was greatly influenced by his teacher’s lyrical approach to painting the landscape.  While at PAFA, Reckless won two Cresson Traveling Scholarships, which allowed him to travel to Europe in 1915 and 1916.  He also won the Toppan Prize in 1916 for the best work of art executed by a student.

Upon his return from Paris, Reckless married Gertrude Weimer, whose family had a summer home in New Hope.  Weimer’s father built the newlyweds a house on the towpath, and Reckless painted the landscape around their home from the late teens into the 1930s.  The artist’s handling of brushwork and superb ability to capture dappled light certainly owe to the influence of Garber.  Indeed, some of Reckless’s works have been attributed to Garber; however, Reckless was not a very prolific painter, unlike his teacher, and his paintings are quite rare.  Those landscapes of New Hope that do exist are wonderful examples of Reckless’s ability to capture the essence of place.