George Walter Dawson (1870-1938)

  • GEORGE WALTER DAWSON (1870-1938)
  • Path to the Alps
  • Watercolor on paper
  • 22 x 17 ¾ inches
  • Signed lower right

In a public lecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Dawson begins a talk on gardens by saying: "An hour is such a short time to devote to the subject of gardens, a subject that includes all ages, all countries, all people—that deals so intimately with man’s needs, aesthetic as well as useful, and nature's gifts." Dawson literally walks his audience through descriptions of various garden paths with which he is familiar. Path to the Alps captures a similar experience of wandering through a garden and happening upon a striking view, composed purposely with pathways, trees, and vines. In this image, the snowy Alps are visible through the trees, while the gateway pillars and the flourishing, orange trumpet vines frame the composition and create an entrance for the viewer's eyes. Dawson skillfully creates gradations in the orange and yellow of the clusters of trumpet-shaped blossoms, carefully weaves the entangled vines against the blue sky, and leads the viewers eye to the background using highlights and lowlights along the pathway and tree line. The great range of greens and beiges used to differentiate objects and space creates a jewel-like composition that proclaims the brilliance of nature and the pleasure one experiences in such a garden.

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