SANDPOINT — From his window, Walter gazed out at a calm scene. A breeze pushed the water and ripples began to race in unison toward the shoreline. The peace of that picturesque view must have stood in stark contrast to the heavy load of responsibility Walter carried as Vice President of Standard Oil Company in the early 1900s.
Walter C. Teagle commissioned an artist to depict this peaceful scene in an untitled painting completed in 1923 by Edward Willis Redfield.
Redfield, an established artist of American Impressionism, was also a farmer. He had to postpone the work until after harvest season, hence, the painting depicts a winter landscape.
Redfield’s career in art began early in life. At the age of 7, his painting of cows was featured at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. He later studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and went on to study with other well-known artists of that time in Paris. He began to teach from his studio in Center Bridge, PA in 1902 and later returned to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art to teach. Some of his famous proteges include Charles Rosen, Fern Coppedge, and Walter Elmer Schofield.
His paintings, almost entirely of outdoor scenes, won him more than 30 medals and awards between 1896 and 1936. His works have been exhibited in at least 30 prominent museums including the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Luxembourg Museum in Paris, and the National Gallery of Argentina. The East Bonner County Library, Sandpoint Branch, is now counted among them.
Phyllis Mott, owner of the untitled Redfield painting formerly owned by Walter Teagle, has graciously donated this valuable work to the Sandpoint Library.
The oil painting stands at over 4’ by 3’, not including the ornate frame built for the piece by Fredrick Harer (1897-1949). Harer, a painter himself, as well as sculptor, etcher, gilder, and frame maker, produced hand-carved frames for many of the Pennsylvania impressionist artists of his day.
Protected by a large pane of glass, the framed canvas may have been sized to mimic the window Teagle fondly looked through. Upon his death, however, no one in Teagle’s family wanted the colossal art piece. His secretary, Frank Mott, agreed to take it. When Frank and his wife Marguerite passed away, the painting went to their son and daughter-in-law Walter and Phyllis Mott. The painting remained in their ownership ever since. When Phyllis moved into a smaller home, it quickly became apparent that the painting was too big for the new living space.
None of the Mott’s three children were able to home the painting either. When they looked into shipping the painting back East to auction, Phyllis was concerned. The painting, still in its original glass and frame, and in impeccable condition, might not make the trip unscathed.
“Better to keep it local and not risk it,” Phyllis decided.
One morning, Phyllis woke from a dream where she had donated the valuable piece to The Library. She contacted Carol Deaner with the Pend Oreille Arts Council, the organization that curates art for the Sandpoint Library. Director Ann Nichols accepted the generous gift on behalf of The Library and arrangements were made for the legal transaction and transporting of the piece.
Perhaps no one appreciated the personal value of this painting more than Walter Teagle. His fondness for the view outside his window brought him so much joy that he would commission a renowned artist to paint it. Mott hopes that the painting, in its new home at the Sandpoint Library, will bring that same joy to others who visit The Library for years to come.
The painting is located on the second floor of the Sandpoint Library in the south computer alcove. For questions or more information about art in the Sandpoint Library, contact Library Director Ann Nichols at 208-263-6930.