Coming from a very artistic family, Albert Lenoir (1801 – 1891) was known for his paintings and specifically, his winter scene paintings. He was influenced by the great Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th centuries who first made winter and skating scenes popular. Lowland Europe had experienced a span of exceptionally cold winters, known as the Little Ice Age. Hundreds of rivers and canals froze over allowing ice skating and winter festivals. It became a popular theme for artists. This pair of winter scene paintings have fine detailing. They are signed and dated, 1851.
The painting on the left depicts a house with a variety of buildings behind and on the shoreline. In the near front, a man is skating while the woman inside the house watches. A beautiful church with a tall steeple stands out to the far back left. Continuing to the right, are more skaters. The graceful trees, stripped of their leaves, have areas of wind blown snow, highlighting the season. In the background is the winter sky, with its characteristic dark clouds at the ground level, fading into tall white cumulus clouds. Above this is the pale blue sky. This painting is signed in the lower left- hand corner, A. Lenoir, 1851. The giltwood frame has floral and foliate motifs partially extending from each corner in a matte gold and separated by a shiny gold section at the center.
The painting to the right depicts a windmill on the right with a home behind it. From the home’s chimney there is smoke billowing up into the sky. To the left is a large frozen river where a large group of people in the distance are enjoying their skating. From the chimney there is billowing smoke flowing up to the sky. The woman and child have paused to look up at the windmill and smoke. The winter sky is a late afternoon mix of a storm in the distance and light clouds blending into the pale blue sky. The painting is signed in the left- hand corner, A. Lenoir.
It is not common to find such a pair of antique winter scene paintings. They are full of interesting and well executed details. They are a joy to inspect, and the giltwood frames add a perfect contrast.
CONDITION: Good condition with small losses of paint toward bottom of paintings near frames. Frames have been restored and have some wear with touch ups to color in areas.