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William Sanderson (1905–1990)
LOT ID: 69467
Northern Harbor, ie. circa 1930

Oil, on canvas
15 х 22 in. (38.1 x 55.88 cm.)
Signed, lower left
Lot description
In this scene, Sanderson presents to us a lone figure in a dingy that is approaching a steamship. He does so with an industrial sensibility, emphasizing both the smokestacks of the ship and the surrounding landscape. Here nature is limited to a few styles waves in the water. All else in the image relates to industry and machinery. The name of the ship, No. 271, is literally a central element of the composition and can also be related to commercial design. According to Michael Sanderson, the artist's son, William Sanderson painted a number of harbors scenes similar to this one.

Born in Latvia, William Sanderson (1905-1990) came to the United States at the age of 18 in 1923. He studied painting at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League in New York City. He initially worked as a commercial artist, and his drawings were published in The New Yorker magazine as well as in the worker’s newspaper New Masses. In 1931 Sanderson was given a solo show at the Contemporary American Artist’s Gallery in New York City.

After the Second World War, Sanderson moved to Denver, Colorado where he taught advertising design at the University of Denver. During that time he also exhibited with a Denver-based group know as Fifteen Colorado Artists, which included fellow artists Mina Conant, Paul K.Smith, and Frank Vavra. Sanderson exhibited in over 200 group shows throughout Colorado and other Western states between 1945 and 1985.

Sanderson employed meticulous brushwork and large flat areas of color in his precisely arranged compositions. His sensibility of crisp edges and elegant patterning relates to his sophisticated understanding of design and commercial imagery.

A solo exhibition on Sanderson was mounted at the Kirkland Museum in Denver, Colorado in 2009.
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Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
  • Northern Harbor by William Sanderson
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