Eldred's - Auctioneers, Appraisers

Oliver Newberry Chaffee, Jr.

Oliver Newberry Chaffee, Jr.: Abstract Still Life<br>Sold at Eldred's in 2012 for $2,760

Abstract Still Life
Sold at Eldred's in 2012 for $2,760


1881 - 1944

According to his fellow Provincetown artist Ross Moffett, Chaffee was “a modernist before modernism was popular”.

His work, though rooted in academic tradition and realism, shows an early influence of New York artists Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase, and Provincetown’s Charles Hawthorne, who shaped Chaffee’s outdoor Impressionistic style. After a trip to Paris shortly after the turn of the century, Chaffee turned toward modernism, especially the Fauvists.

From 1908 on, Chaffee summered in Provincetown. Joined by a large cast of former expatriate Modernists who had returned to the United States as the threat of war in Europe loomed, Chaffee and his contemporaries helped transform Provincetown into the vibrant, tolerant and flourishing art colony we know today. As one of the colony’s most important artists and teachers, Chaffee helped found the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.   

Nature became the primary source of his later work. These pieces, with strong brushstrokes and brilliant colors, are more Expressionist, though he also experimented with Primitivism and fantasy. 


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