In the early 1920s, Graves’ career flourished. The National Academy of Design elected him an Associate Member in 1926 and while maintaining studios in New York City and Kennebunkport, he began exhibiting at Ainslie, Macbeth and Babcock Galleries, and continued to show regularly with Vose Galleries in 1924, 1925, 1928 and 1932. It was likely though Graves’ work in New York City that he came to know sculptor Harriet Frishmuth (1880-1980), to whom this painting is inscribed in the lower left corner.
More information about this painting...
Frishmuth and Graves were both members of the National Academy of Design (Frishmuth was elected an Associate Member in 1925, just one year before Graves was elected) as well as the National Arts Club, where they were both elected as Artist Lifetime Members in 1926. One can easily imagine a chance meeting between these artists, possibly on the occasion of an exhibition, where Graves may have given this work to Frishmuth. Front Porch in Dappled Sunlight demonstrates the artist’s successful merger of his two passions: a charming old homestead amid a mature flowering garden. Graves continued to paint the flowers, gardens and historic homes that brought him so much happiness.
His passion for flowers and gardens dovetailed with his lifelong interest in architecture, specifically the doorways of Federalist and Colonial Revival homes of Kennebunkport and other historic New England towns. Dappled in sun- or moonlight and flanked by blossoming shrubs and trees, these paintings found ready collectors who shared the artist’s belief that art should bring pleasure to the viewer, a sentiment expressed by his friend, the artist George Alfred Williams, who acknowledged Graves’ “gift to see in the every-day things around him those eternal beauties which can make his work permanent because of its true appeal to the appreciative soul of all humanity.”
 Abbott Filler Graves 1859-1936, exhibition catalogue, The Brick Store Museum, Kennebunk, Maine, 1979.
Private collection, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 30405, February 1991
To private collection, Osterville, Massachusetts, 1993 to present
Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 30405