Wednesday, February 26, 2014

20 Favorite Paintings #5, Mountain Home Church by Harry Louis Freund

Mountain Home Church

Harry Louis Freund was a Missouri born, Arkansas based painter.  Most certainly my favorite non-contemporary Arkansas painter.  He is often identified with the Regionalists Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry.  Like them, he painted many murals and scenes that were immediate to his surroundings.  Unlike them, he never gained a great deal of national prominence, which is very unfortunate because I feel the integrity of his work exceeds those of his contemporaries with the possible exception of Wood.  Freund did not tend to practice as much of the visual exageration that can be seen in the work of Curry and Benton.  You can read more about him here.

It should come as no surprise that I identify with the Regionalists in spirit if not totally in style and mannerism.  In Freund, I find not only a Regionalist, but an Arkansas Regionalist, and one whose style I find to be very pleasing.  In many ways he is almost a way marker for me.

In this particular piece, I like how he captured all of the "stuff" around the building without over detailing.  It has that appearance of quickly done well with only enough to tell you what's going on.  The trees are well massed but not in the modern day plein air tendency which would have you mass the entire tree shape and then pop in the sky holes.  He has clearly here built the trees as skeleton structure with the massing taking place over that.  The trees at the edges of the picture may be done more in the modern manner but it is hard to tell without seeing the actual piece.  There is also a lot the appearance of dry brushing here so I wonder if he worked this one in layers.

There is another Freund piece of a typical Ozark farmstead which I like a sight bit better than this one but I cannot find any pictures of it.  If I do ever find a picture of that, I may devote another Favorite Paintings post to it.


  1. I am very happy to follow your very interesting art blog with the very wonderful paintings of Arkansas !!!
    Happy Sunday and new month !!!

  2. Thanks for the follow Art-Traveller!