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Edgar Alwin Payne
Pair of watercolours. Possibly Views From The Santa Fe Railroad




Early 20th century crayon and watercolour on paper views by American artist Edgar Alwin Payne, both signed A.E.Payne bottom right, one dated '18. Under glass (excuse the reflections), in plain giltwood frames with trade label from Old Church Galleries, Chelsea, London. By repute views of his project for the Sante Fe Railroad 1917/18. Provenance: Private Californian Collection, Old Church Galleries, Chelsea, London, acquired from them in 1980's for Private French Collection to date. Payne was born on 1 March 1883 in Missouri. A largely a self-taught artist, he did enroll for a short period at the Art Institute of Chicago to study portrait painting, but dropped out after just two weeks as he found it too structured. He got his first major commission in 1917 from Santa Fe Railroad as part of an advertising campaign to attract tourism and it is possible that these works date from that period. This required Payne to explore and paint areas in the Southwest, including the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and Northern New Mexico. The commission helped establish Payne's reputation as an artist and paved the way for the rest of his prolific career. Some of his most famous works feature the Sierra mountains, which were a constant source of inspiration for him. He would often venture to the upper lakes of the Sierra Nevada on horse-back to paint. He became so prolific that a lake was named after him. After the Santa Fe Railroad commission finished, he received a commission from the Congress Hotel in Chicago for an 11,000 square foot mural. In 1941 he wrote "Composition of Outdoor Painting", a comprehensive guide to landscape composition. This book is still considered by many artists to be the book on landscape composition. It contains many composition theories and layouts which are fundamental in landscape painting today. He was married to Elsie Palmer Payne, who was a successful artist in her own right. It is safe to say her work was shadowed by the prolific career of Edgar. The couple separated in 1932, but she returned to him in his later years when he was battling cancer. He died in 1947. Payne painted with a distinct, impressionist style. He probably owes part of his distinct style to his decision to go the self-taught route rather than the rigid, academic route. Many of his paintings feature a strong use of shape. He was extremely good at breaking complex subjects down into really basic colour and shapes. This is particularly evident in his paintings of mountains. He used large brushes to paint distinct shapes of light and dark blue. The end result is a very blocky style which seems to work well for the rigid mountains. His paintings are held in many important national and international collections.


  • Creator
    Edgar Alwin Payne (1883 - 1947, American)
  • Creation Year
  • Dimensions
    Height: 18.25 in. (46.36 cm)Width: 24.5 in. (62.23 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
    To maintain their integrity the paintings have been left in their original frames under glass and their is some reflection on the description photos.
  • Gallery Location
    Cotignac, FR
  • Reference Number
    Seller: LG1stDibs: LU143027690842

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    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: Cotignac, France
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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About the SellerNew to 1stDibs
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Located in Cotignac, France
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