Staff Selections – David Wilner

Published on April 11th, 2023 | Posted in Essays

By David Wilner, Administrative Assistant 

Questroyal Fine Art is continually developing our inventory of artworks. Though dedicated to the everlasting beauty of the Hudson River School, the inclusion of impressionist and modernist works helps to highlight some of the wonderful similarities and differences between the styles.

With an impressive inventory including paintings by Charles Burchfield, Marsden Hartley, Everett Shinn, and Jane Freilicher, please enjoy some of my favorite selections from our modern collection.


Charles Burchfield (1893–1967)

Fires of Spring in Big Woods, 1951

Watercolor and pencil on joined paper

39½ x 29¼ inches (sight size)

Estate stamp lower right

A visionary artist known for his watercolor landscapes and town scenes, Burchfield’s Fires of Spring in Big Woods, is certainly no exception to his incredible legacy. A sizeable piece that exemplifies his interest in nature and the changing seasons, he notes in one of his journals, “There had been forming in my mind an idea of showing deep winter in a woods, but with openings at the top of a hill showing the fires of spring. I soon picked my spot and set up my easel.”[1]


Oscar Bluemner (1867–1938)

Venus, 1924

Watercolor and pencil on paper

5 x 6¾ inches

Monogrammed lower left: OFB; inscribed, dated, and monogrammed left margin: Eliz Nov 13-24 65W OFB

From a series of watercolors that Bluemner made after moving to Elizabeth, New Jersey in August 1924, Venus is an excellent example of Bluemner’s vivid use of color and form. With works today selling for millions and represented in some of the world’s leading museums (Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art, to name a few), Bluemner has become one of the most sought-after American artists.


Aaron Harry Gorson (1872–1933)

The Break of the Haze

Oil on canvas laid down on board

16 x 11⅞ inches

Signed lower right: AH Gorson

Inspired by industrial urban life, Aaron Harry Gorson’s The Break of Haze is a wonderful example not only of his dramatic use of light to convey mood, but also his unique artistic perspective. Gorson was intrigued by city scenery and often chose to display the beauty he found in industrialized areas, where many overlooked all aesthetic potential.


Marsden Hartley (1877–1943)  


Oil on canvas

24 x 19⅝ inches

On verso: Marsden Hartley

A pioneering American modernist, Marsden Hartley is one of my personal favorites. According to the National Gallery of Art, upon returning to the United States from Europe in 1915, “Hartley moved away from his former abstract style and, forever moving from place to place, produced a remarkable variety of expressive landscapes, still life compositions, and unconventional portraits.”[2] An excellent example, Flowers is easy to admire for its wonderfully expressive style and use of color.

[1] Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, vol. 52, February 4, 1951, 25–28.

[2] Robert Torchia, “Marsden Hartley,” National Gallery of Art, accessed April 7, 2023,