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Age: 1900 - 1950

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Unframed Dimensions: 11"h x 13"w

Overall Dimensions: 16"h x 18.5"w.

TITLE: Clearing by the Woods

FRAME: Original Arts & Crafts Frame

COMMENTS: Early 20th C Oil on Canvas by Joseph Patrick McMeekin (American, 1857-1936), “Clearing by the Woods”, 1929, signed and dated lower left, canvas: 11"h x 13"w, overall (with frame): 16"h x 18.5"w. Provenance: Estate of Edan Hughes (San Francisco, CA)Joseph Patrick McMeekin was born in Ireland in 1857. He came to the United States with his parents and younger sister, Sarah, in 1872. Sarah married another young Irish immigrant, Liberty Millet, and when the couple homesteaded on an island in the Snake River near Hagerman in the late 1880's, Joseph moved there too. He was determined to devote his life to art, and had already decided that Nature would be his only teacher.

During the canyon years in Idaho, and for the rest of his life in California, where he moved in 1910, McMeekin literally lived to paint. He braved snow storms, rain, and summer heat to get his images as directly from nature as he could. Family tradition has it that his singlemindedness often made him forget to eat or to rest. He never married, but remained true to a credo like that of the poet Walter Savage Landor who wrote "Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art."

Only a few people in Idaho knew of McMeekin or his art while he lived on what is still called Millet Island. He exhibited paintings of Shoshone and Twin Falls at World's Columbian Exposition in Chicage in 1893, and sent several pictures to the Idaho Intermountain Fair in Boise in 1902 where he won a first prize and two seconds for "oil colors, original." The Idaho Statesman called them "extremely handsome pieces." He did not enter works in the Boise fair again, despite this success, but in 1905 sent a group of oil paintings to Portland's Lewis and Clark Centennial exposition. For these he was awarded a diploma of honorable mention.

In 1910, McMeekin left Idaho for Napa, California where he lived until his death in 1936. He was elected to membership in the San Francisco Art Association in 1911 and exhibited regularly thereafter in California. Although he painted the scenery of his new surroundings for a quarter century, McMeekin's strong impressions of the Idaho years remained with him. He repainted a number of the canyon pictures from the small oil sketches made from nature so many years before.