Valuable Painting from 1928 by August Gay Found


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Society of Six Fauvist painting found languishing unappreciated in a country home. What would you do if you found this treasure?

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Valuable Painting from 1928 by August Gay Found

  1. 1. Valuable Painting from 1928 by August Gay FoundAugust Gay painted this painting of Hattan Ranch in 1928. The fauvistcolors and great composition make it a real gem that Los Angeles artdealer Steve Stern has just found, languishing unappreciated in a ruralhome.So, at this point, what do Bonhams and Butterfield’s Auction House,vintage painting collectors and the best California Impressionist artdealers in the West all have in common? Well, other than a love for greatpaintings, they know and use Scott M. Haskins and Fine ArtConservation laboratories when wonderful paintings like this onesurface and need cleaning and other careful and quality paintingrestoration treatments.CLICK HERE for a few ofthese business’ that talkabout FACL’s servicesHattan Ranch is in greatcondition, its just in needof a careful cleaning…and of course a propervarnish. If you werebuying this painting, would you use a black light to inspect it? What
  2. 2. would you see on this Society of Six Fauvist painting? Do youunderstand the importance of this step in due diligence when buyingart, antiques and collectibles? For more info on using UV lights to inspectpaintings, CLICK HEREKnown as "Gus" Gay, was part of the Society of Six, a group in the BayArea of California in the 1920s led by Selden Gile that espoused a newstyle of painting focused on bright colors and impressionist techniques.It was a rebellion against the prevalent sombre tonalism and decorativeaesthetics of William Keith and Arthur Mathews.Much of his painting style was Cubist inspired and geometric, and he didnot receive much national recognition until the 1950s. In addition topainting landscapes and coastal scenes, many of them on cigar box tops,he was also a muralist, etcher, and furniture builder.Gay was born in Rabou, near Gap, France between Marseilles and Turinand from this background, brought a strong appreciation of FrenchImpressionism to the Society of Six although he was not a part of theParis art scene. He is credited with having an innate sense of color and abasic happiness that transferred to his bright, cheerful paintings.He emigrated with his father and siblings to Oakland, California in 1900.However, the mother stayed in France, and Gay never saw her again. Atage sixteen, he developed tuberculosis and spent three yearsrecuperating on his uncles ranch in the Imperial Valley. During thattime, he did much sketching and developed a commitment to art, but henever regained much energy and had a frail constitution. He was short,about five feet four inches, wiry, and seemed totally oblivious to mosteverything but his painting.He met Selden Gile when he bought bricks from Gladding McBean,where Gile was employed, and in 1910, moved in with Gile to escape hisvery crowded, uncomfortable family home. He worked menial jobsaround the city including at a fruit cannery, a warehouse, and at thePalace Hotel Restaurant as a food checker.
  3. 3. He never seemed to have enough money and often wore Giles clothing.The two lived together for nearly a decade, although Gile, who gavefinancial support to his friend, was often impatient with what heregarded as Gays slow pace. After 1919, Gay lived in Monterey butcontinued to exhibit with the Six at the Oakland Art Gallery.In Monterey, he shared a studio with Clayton Price, and living in Carmelduring the last ten years of his life, worked as a furniture designer andcustom framer until his death on March 9, 1948.Gays art education was minimal. He attended occasional classes at theCalifornia School of Arts and Crafts and later took night school at theCalifornia School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. In 1916, he entered hisfirst exhibition.His work is in the collection of the Oakland Museum and Monterey HighSchool where he did a mural.Source: Nancy Boas, Society of SixFine ArtConservationLaboratories andScott M. Haskinscan be followed onFacebook as well ason Tips For ArtCollectors