Lot 83. Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski 1849-1915
RETURNING HOME; signed A. Wierusz-Kowalski (lower left); oil on canvas; 18 1/4 by 26 in.; 46.3 by 66 cm
Estimate $30,000-40,000. Sothebys. 05/18/16
Returning Home is related to two other versions by Wierusz-Kowalski of 1880 (one now in a private collection, Poland, the other untraced) which exemplify his style of the period influenced by fellow Polish artist Józef Brandt. Wieursz-Kowalski rarely so faithfully reworked a subject from one composition to the next. The main figurative group is placed in the immediate foreground and the artist employs a series of bold, distinct brushstrokes and rich colors to add a physicality to the composition. Wierusz-Kowalski had a particular mastery in painting snow and in Returning Home built-up mounds of frosty white paint seem to sparkle while smoother, thinner applications of grey pigment suggest patches melting into the warming earth.