Charles Walter Stetson Sunset Viareggio, 1904

Bert Gallery is pleased to announce the acquisition of this exceptional Stetson painting now being offered for sale. Painted in 1904 when the artist was living and achieving much recognition in Italy, and at the height of his artistic prowess, Stetson enjoyed many visits to this coastal city in northern Tuscany. Viareggio, which enraptured him on his first visit in 1897 was a favorite destination from his villa in Rome. Working from sketches or watercolors made en plein air, Stetson produced numerous oil paintings of the town's port and its fishing fleet with their distinctive felucca sails. The painting is a prime example of this favorite motif and was exhibited in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Memorial exhibition in 1913.

verso of canvas

The work has a stellar provenance, remaining in the artist's estate until acquired by the current owner from the Bowater Gallery of Los Angeles, which was the exclusive agent of the estate. The painting measures 20" x 24" and is signed and dated in the lower left of the canvas. It is named, dated and signed on the back of the canvas as well, and has its attached Boston Museum of fine Arts and Bowater Gallery tags on the stretcher bars.

Charles Walter Stetson was born March 25, 1858 in Tiverton Four Corners, Rhode Island. He was self-taught as an artist, with little or no formal training in art available in Providence at the time. By 1878, when he opened his first artist studio in Providence at the age of twenty, Stetson was painting landscapes with a broader, coloristic technique. His paintings were accepted into exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy and Boston Art club, attracting the praise of prominent artists and critics of the time. In the early 1880's.Stetson became attracted to Venetian old masters, which he encountered in New York, having seen nothing in art except reproductions until this time. Around 1882 Stetson taught himself etching and learned both French and German. It was in this year as well that Stetson was to have his first one-man exhibition at the Providence Art Club, of which he was one of the founding members.

C.W. Stetson, Providence Art Club Collection

His personal life took him to Pasadena, California and resided there until 1901. But Stetson had already made his first visit to Europe in 1897, where he visited Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, England and Viareggio and Roma, Italy. From 1901 to 1911, Stetson made his home in Rome; during these years his summers were spent at Viareggio and Capri. Deafness and illness kept him isolated from fellow artists, except for the American painting Eilhu Vedder, by whom he was befriended. Stetson most frequently worked as a landscapist and figure painter and water colorist, particularly concentrating on imaginative themes. In Rome he was invited to the Venice Biennale, in 1904 to the Rome International, and again in 1911 to the Rome International, and again in 1911 to the Rome International. He died in Rome on July 21, 1911 owing to the aftereffects of an operation.

C.W. Stetson Catalogue

In 1912 there was a Memorial Exhibition of his work shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; similar memorial exhibitions were shown at the Detroit Museum of Art in 1913, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, in 1914. "After the Bath" ( 1911), one of Stetson's last works he painted when in Viareggio, was acquired in 1982 by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, in Washington, D.C. That museum houses six Stetson works at this time including "Magnolia" created in 1895, and Villa Falconieri", painted in 1906. Call Bert Gallery or e-mail at

Created By
Catherine Bert

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