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Staircase
17" x 21"
Oil on board
1908

During William A. Harper’s brief life, he focused his artistic pursuits on representations of the landscape around him, from France, where he studied and lived for part of his life, to Mexico, where he died. He portrayed scenes ranging from fields, hillsides and seascapes to built structures such as terraces, patios and staircases. In Staircase, Harper uses cool tones as well as impasto brushwork and scumbling to delineate sleek steps, aging walls and winding vines. In the foreground of this quiet and unpopulated scene, a thickly painted potted evergreen anchors the bottom of the steps that leads the eye to two small busts on pedestals hidden under a protective awning.