Blakelock’s name became synonymous with the mystical moonlit scenes that dominated the latter part of his career, yet his early landscapes generally aligned with the traditional Hudson River School of the 1860s or the progressive American Barbizon style of the 1870s, and sometimes bridged both movements. With its meticulously rendered autumn leaves and cabin, Pioneer Home corresponds to the former style, demonstrating the beauty of the American wilderness espoused by the Hudson River School painters, who exhibited alongside Blakelock at the National Academy.
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While the diffused sunlight casts a warm glow over the scene and speaks to the romanticism of exploration and manifest destiny, one might also see its central placement in the sky as foreshadowing the moonlight scenes to come. Pioneer Home has been owned and handled by three generations of Voses during the gallery’s history, first in 1919, again in 1926, during which time the handsome Carrig-Rohane frame was created for it, and finally in the 1989, when the landscape was acquired by Abbot and Marcia Vose for their personal collection.
Note: This painting is included within the Nebraska Blakelock Inventory compiled by Norman Geske as NBI-1356, category I
Macbeth Gallery, New York, New York
To Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 5116, July 1919 (titled Autumn at this time)
To Sam Yunt’s Art & Gift Shop, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma September 1923
Eventually to collection of Wallace B. Rogers
To Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 7339, March 1926 (title changed to Pioneer Home at this time)
To Raleigh D. Mills, Toledo, Ohio, November 1927
Eventually to Sotheby’s, New York, January 1989
To Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 29369, January 1989
To Mr. and Mrs. Abbot W. Vose, Duxbury, Massachusetts, April 1989 to present
(top stretcher in pencil, likely not the artist’s hand) Pioneer Home / by R. A. Blakelock
1). University of Nebraska / Blakelock Inventory / 1356
2). (stamp, several times on stretchers) R. C. Vose / Paintings / Boston
3). Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 29369
4). Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York / Cornell Collects: A Celebration of American Art / From the Collections of Alumni and Friends / August 21 – November 4, 1990 / 160. Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847-1919) / Pioneer Home / Oil on canvas / 17”x33” / Mr. and Mrs. Vose
1). Gage Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, 1921
2). Cornell Collects: A Celebration of American Art from the Collections of Alumni and Friends, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, August 21 – November 4, 1990, No. 23 (illus.)