"Fishing on Middle Ground" by Reynolds Beal (1866-1951)
watercolor with graphite
H 25 1/2" x W 32" (including frame)
Reynolds Beal was both an American Impressionist and Modernist artist. Born in New York City, he spent his summers in Newburgh, New York on the Hudson River. He designed gardens with his brother in the area. Beal was able to devote his life to his art with little to no influence from his patrons or trends due to his independent nature.
Before pursuing an artistic career, he attended Cornell University as a student of naval architecture. It wasn't until much later in life after graduating that he became serious about a career as a painter.
In 1901 he painted at sea, amassing a collection of numerous scrapbook pages with marine etchings and photographs, old Christmas cards, personal photographs, exhibition catalogs, and newspaper clippings. Afterward, he spent seven years of his life with the artist community in Noank, Connecticut.
In 1912 he began painting scenes of traveling circuses coming through the area he moved to in the Hudson Valley. Beal also painted beaches on Cape Cod, Key West, Rockport and Atlantic City. He experimented with different styles including Impressionism and Tonalism.
Later in his career, his work became more complex and vibrant, and utilized both watercolors and oils.
Beal traveled a lot with his brother Gifford around the world and in 1944 they showed their work in a joint exhibition at the Fitchburg Art Center in Fitchburg, MA. The show exhibited 83 oil paintings, watercolors, and etchings created during their travels to Singapore, Trinidad, Samoa, China, Nassau, Egypt, Haiti, and more.
Wherever Beal settled, he was an active member of the art community. By 1934, he was a member and active participant of the Salamagundi Club, Lotus Club, Century Club, National Academy of Design, Society of American Engravers, National Arts Council, and the American Watercolor Society. He helped found the Society of Independent Artists and New Society of Artists.
After his passing in 1951, a curator summarized his life while studying his Eddyville paintings: "Reynolds Beal helped drive American impressionism as the 20th century got underway. Like Lever and Lawson, he favored the Fauvistic direction with its strong link to the radical childlike innocence of the American land." (Source: "We Offer A Beal Masterpiece Full of Joyful Color." American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery. http://www.dryadsgreengallery.com/ReynoldsBeal.html)