FRITZ WILHELM WINOLD REISS (1886–1953)
India and colored inks on illustration board, 29 7/8 x 34 3/8 in.
Signed (in white gouache, at lower left): Winold Reiss; with estate stamp (at lower right): Winold / Reiss
Executed about 1916–24
EX COLL.: the artist; to estate of the artist, 1953 until the present
Reiss principally produced portraits, but also created a series of striking landscapes firmly in the modernist idiom. Woodstock, executed during the artist’s years at Woodstock, New York, is a hauntingly beautiful scene of the sun setting over the hilly landscape. Reiss’s boldly abstracted forms and the radiant bands of super-saturated color recall the work of another German émigré modernist, Oscar Bluemner (1867–1938), whose own career in New York entered its stride at almost precisely the same moment, while the compression of space and the almost gothic shapes of the hills can’t help but recall the works of Marsden Hartley. Though Reiss was not a part of the circle of artists around the New York photographer and dealer, Alfred Stieglitz, as were Bluemner and Hartley, the evidence of such landscapes as Woodstock proves that Reiss unquestionably deserves a place alongside them in the canon of American modernism.