Lake, Sun and Clouds, CR #: 0433

Lake, Sun, and Clouds, 1950-55, watercolor and Chinese ink on paper

The wilderness landscape surrounding Mount Katahdin was a favorite Fitzgerald haunt during the fall months, before he would retreat to New York City for the winter.  Over the years between 1950 and his death in 1971, he painted numerous scenes of the mountain’s profile and the surrounding lakes of the region. There are over 25 black and white views, as well as 160 watercolors that combine with his use of Chinese ink, as in this work. Once again, it is moonlight, reflected in the edges of the clouds and on the surface of the water, that softens the composition and the color.

More menacing views of Katahdin by Fitzgerald and other of his contemporary Maine artists, like Marsden Hartley, utilize a darker, more somber palette that can seem more threatening.  They reflect Fitzgerald’s interest in the indigenous tales of the mountain god, Pamola, the Spirit of Katahdin, who often protected the peak with a ring of thick clouds at its summit.