27: Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928)
Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928)
Signed "A. B. Frost" lower right
19.25 by 26.75 inches
A. B. Frost was born in Philadelphia in 1851, but spent his most prolific years in New Jersey. Considered one of the great illustrators of the “Golden Age of American Illustration,” he illustrated more than ninety books and produced thousands of illustrations for “Harper’s Weekly,” “Scribner’s,” and “Life” magazines. Frost’s illustrative work chronicles the mood and details of the daily life of farmers, hunters, fisherman, as well as barnyards and pastoral motifs. By 1876, he was on “Harper’s” staff working on many books including “Tom Sawyer,” “Uncle Remus,” and “Mr. Dooley.” He also illustrated Theodore Roosevelt’s sporting book, "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman." Frost was an ardent sportsman who spent his summers and autumns fishing, rowing, and hunting ducks and snipe. He completed hundreds of watercolors and oils of the New Jersey seaside and is probably best known for his hunting and shooting prints that capture the drama of sport in realistically detailed settings. "Snipe Shooting" is a classic portrayal of shorebird hunting, depicting two hunters crouched in a make-shift blind, shooting over two dozen shorebird decoys. The day’s bounty is piled behind them and the shooters are tensed, ready to take aim at another flock, visible in the distance. This work is illustrated in “Drawings,” by A. B. Frost, and paired with this playful description: “Snipe Shooting Were I a bird I’d most enjoy The care-free life of the Decoy, So that, however tame I’d be, No one would care to shoot at me. The reason for my wish is thus Ridiculously obvious. -A.B. Frost, "Drawings" The original owner of this work, Isaac Norris De Haven, was a business man and an active member of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, where he served as President from 1897-1898. An avid hunter, he often spent weekends on the New Jesery shore where he kept his cat boat "Widgeon." Frost, who De Haven met at a camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania, was a frequent guest on these excursions to the shore. This work was likely painted to commemorate one of the many hunting trips the two men took together.
Provenance: Isaac Norris De Haven, acquired directly from the artist < br>By descent in the family to the current owner
Literature: A. B. Frost, “Drawings,” New York, NY, 1904, illustrated.