Mitchell’s Point, Looking Down The Columbia River
Oil on canvas
18 x 30 inches
Signed and inscribed at lower left: "G T Brown 87"
Signed and inscribed on verso in graphite: “G T Brown Mitchell’s Point Looking Down Columbia…”
Mitchell Point is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River in Hood River County, a little west of the present town of Hood River. The view is looking west, downriver, with the Washington side of the Columbia showing as the hill on the right side of the painting. The grade along the left appears to be the railroad bed for the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company’s tracks. An especially noteworthy painting for its depictions of American Indians, probably depicting a group of Wisham Indians, a band of Indians now associated both with the Warm Springs in Oregon and Yakama in Washington. The Wishram were located along the Columbia on both sides of the Celilo Falls, just east of the present-day city of The Dalles, Oregon. Another band that frequented that region was the Klickitat, now mostly associated with the Yakama. The woman on the right holds strips of salmon, while a traditional canoe is beached nearby.
Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1841, Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) moved west in 1858, first to Sacramento and later to San Francisco, where he became California's first African American city view artist and lithographer. As a prolific and talented topographic artist and lithographer, Brown created images that showcased the natural beauty and essential character of the developing frontier. From 1861 to 1864, he worked as a commercial lithographer for Charles C. Kuchel, and following Kuchel’s death, bought the firm, renaming it G.T. Brown & Company. Brown is best known for his fifteen bird’s-eye views and two illustrated history books, but he also printed for a broad range of businesses and mining companies. In 1878, he sold the business to his partner, William T. Galloway, who continued the firm under his own name.
Brown moved to Victoria, British Columbia in 1882 and soon joined the Canadian Government’s Amos Boman Geological Survey for which he made sketches of the scenery along the Fraser River east of the Cascade Mountains. He also opened a studio in Victoria and began to produce paintings of the local landscape. Ever the wanderer, Brown moved to Portland, Oregon in 1886 where he maintained a studio until 1889, and where he was listed as an artist in the Portland city directories and in the directory of the Portland Art Guild. It was during this period that Brown painted Mitchell’s Point, Looking Down The Columbia River.
A few spots of in-paintings were detected under UV light, located in the upper right and left corners.
There is some craquelure, mostly located in the sky area.
The canvas is not relined.
There is some wear to the frame, including molded decoration losses in the upper right and lower left corners.
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