New York. March 26, 1930. pp. on a single octavo sheet of stationery. Old fold lines, minor wear. Near fine. Item #WRCAM48500
Noted art collector and Winslow Homer patron Thomas B. Clarke writes to Mr. [Mantle] Fielding on artistic business matters, discussing the current values of American art, etc. In part: "...Mr. Cochran (of J.P. Morgan & Co. has given several more American paintings to Andover Academy, among them 'Eight Bells' by Winslow Homer. In the 'Nineties' Homer asked me to come to his studio...on Washington Square. I went there and he said 'Clarke here is a picture that I have just finished working on, and I have named it 'Eightbells.' I said 'Mr. Homer will you sell it to me?' He replied 'Yes, and I will accept $400 from you.' In 1899... it fetched over $4000.... Levy sold 'Eight Bells' later to one of his clients.... This buyer 'parted with it' very recently for the Andover collection for the sum of seventy thousand dollars! Some commentators upon this sale say that this price was low! The rapid advances of certain works of art by American painters seems very remarkable to me.... My inclination for the selection of oil portraits from life was manifest in the sale of my collection, and at the end of the sale I started to accumulate the paintings now hanging in the Museum in Fairmount Park Phila. and in my residence here (there are 171 in all - I feel like hiding!). ... You and I have known of marvellous increases in the values of portraits of Washington by Stuart, Peale and others. Copley, Trumbull, Sully et al also lead in the great advances. In coming years will portraits by these men mount in value? I feel such a situation is absolutely certain...." Thomas Benedict Clarke (1848-1931), American patron and art collector, is considered by many to be the foremost patron of American painters during the late 1800s. He was praised for his attention to American artists at a time when they considered themselves neglected or ignored. Mantle Fielding is remembered today for his works on portraits of Washington.