This piece was likely inspired by Benson’s time in Eastham, Massachusetts, along Cape Cod, where he shared a hunting cabin with his brothers-in-law beginning in 1892. It demonstrates his intimate knowledge of how his subjects behave in the wild, perfectly capturing the movement of their bodies and wings as they launch themselves from the marsh in formation, and also exemplifies his eye for color relationships and strong composition; one is immediately drawn to the minimalist palette of complementary blue and gold tones while the design of the ascending flock carries the viewer from the foreground to the topmost bird.
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Created over a period of three decades, Benson’s watercolors and ink washes are perhaps the most stunning works of his career and were quickly snapped up by admirers. His earlier more conservative approach to painting was liberated by the spontaneity of execution and boldness of expression characteristic of the medium, and subjects included figures, still lifes, land and seascapes, sporting scenes and a variety of birds. Ducks Rising was acquired before World War II by a collector from Marion, Massachusetts, and has remained in the same family for three generations.
By descent through one family for three generations, since prior to World War II, to private collection, Marion, Massachusetts