Saturday, January 28, 2012


I received a couple of questions about my last Gruppe post so I thought I would talk about Emile a little more . Here a question;

"Was he thinking about this while painting in the field or do you think he did some reworking later in the studio? There is so much to consider while outdoors that it's tough enough to just get the picture on the canvas. Which brings up another question. Do you think he visited the same location on multiple days? Did he go back out on this One , or did he only go there one time? "

I don't think Gruppe took a painting out twice very often, if ever, at least not as a mature artist. He was an extremely prolific painter and everything I have seen looked to me as if it was done in on e shot. The upside of that is that he designed a lot of paintings and got good at that part of the puzzle. He also had LOTS of inventory which he sold like crazy at reasonable prices. The downside is that his oeuvre was extremely uneven. Emile made some really fine paintings, when he was good he was great. However there are a lot of Gruppes out there that are well.... a little undercooked.

A lot of Gruppes are in the 25 by 30 size range.He was a plein air painter even using the tightest definition. He was a plein air painter to a greater extent than almost any other artist I can think of. I don't think he reworked stuff in the studio at all.

One of the ways he made so many pictures was to return over and over to the same scene. The Baptist church in Rockport or some of the dock scenes in Gloucester were used for subject matter over and over, with varying results. On this page are more paintings of the same stand of birches as the one I posted the other night (that's shown below) Above is a grouping that I believe is probably the same place.

I was also asked whether Gruppe "keyed" the whole painting to the bases of those trees. And I think he probably did. The contrast there and the importance off those areas lead me to believe that he probably started there and used that area as his "punchline" In each of these paintings it seems as if that area is real important.

Here is another picture of what I believe to be the same birches from the other side. This time it's a gray day. But there is again the same emphasis on the bases of the birches and the contrast in value and or color temperature there.


Marian Fortunati said...

Interesting... I love to learn from you.

BEAUTIFUL Gruppe paintings too.

Carol Reynolds said...

Thank you for a great post! I had the pleasure of meeting Gruppe eons ago when I resided in New England and he was very kind and helpful and encouraging where my art was concerned. I loved to visit Rockport and Gloucester back then. Look forward to your future posts, as always.

Robert J. Simone said...

Gruppe came of age and was at his peak during the time of the door to door salesman. I imagine he was cut from the same cloth. Thick skinned, undeterred, bold and confident. His paintings are his sales pitch. The hand that painted them seems to have been fearless. Some of them were a bit undercooked as you say. But so many are so marvelous. There was one on display here in St. Petersburg, Fl last year that was so large and had so much thick paint, it was hard to imagine it may have been a one shot deal. I was completely enthralled.

jimserrettstudio said...

Thanks for the articles on Gruppe,through them I think I have found a new understanding and appreciation of his work.

billspaintingmn said...

Thanks again Stape. Part of learning is understanding those that went before us.
You're helping me,(us)learn.

LandPainter said...

It's amazing and interesting seeing his different paintings of the same view. I'm dumbfounded that he could paint that fast and large and capture the moment so well. That's probably why he was one of the best.

It's funny, I've been painting the same view every morning for a couple weeks and everyday is so different. It's enlightening to line them up and see all of the slight differences in color, mood and atmosphere.

Thanks for answering my questions.

willek said...

Terrific posting, Stape I really enjoy hearing about how these guys worked... and how they were trained. Lots of that in the Cleveland book... but never enough.