After his initial 1915 visit, Hibbard returned to Vermont every winter, eventually settling into a home near East Jamaica with his wife Winifred and their two children. He explored throughout the state in search of inspiration, from the secluded hamlets near the Canadian border to the streams, forests and mountains of southern Vermont’s West River Valley.
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Created during the winter of 1938-1939, The West River Valley, near Bondville, Vermont was painted on speculation for Vose Galleries and featured in an exhibition of New England scenes by Hibbard and his contemporaries that ran from January to February of 1939. Correspondence in Vose Galleries’ archives reveals that the artist came down with a terrible cold during its completion, yet pulled through and had the landscape sent to the gallery in time for the show. Ultimately, the painting sold in early 1942 to a collector in New Britain, Connecticut, and has descended within the same family to present. While the panoramic design is unusual for the artist, the subject matter is quintessential Hibbard and highlights the charming aspects of Vermont that drew him back every winter – quaint clapboard homes, historic covered bridges, impressive granite peaks, as well as the state’s vital industries, here represented by the logger and oxen traversing a snowy path to town.
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 11718, January 1939
To private collection, New Britain, Connecticut, February 1942
By descent through the family to grandson of the above, private collection, Del Ray Beach, Florida
(on frame in black) Vose Galleries 301 Columbus Ave Boston Carrig Rohane Shop
Exhibition of New England Scenes: A. T. Hibbard, Chauncey F. Ryder, Frank Vining Smith, Frederick J. Waugh and Robert Strong Woodward, Vose Galleries, Boston, January 30 – February 11, 1939, No. 10 The West River Valley, Bondville