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Sold to a private collector
Daniel Garber (American, 1880–1958)
The Fairy Tale (Tanis Reading), 1916
Oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 25 1/4 inches
Courtesy of Spanierman Gallery, LLC

Contemplative images of domestic life were tremendously popular during the turn of the twentieth century. In this tradition, Daniel Garber, a member of the New Hope School of American Impressionism, investigated daily life in relation to his home environment. Garber’s figure subjects, although less numerous than his landscapes, helped propel him to fame. The Fairy Tale is not only a figure painting, but also a portrait of the artist’s golden-haired daughter, Tanis.

The Fairy Tale stands out among Garber’s other figural works because of its daring composition. The figure is placed off-center and balanced by a patch of reflective sunlight on the wall—showing the artist’s interest in spare, near-abstract design. Garber also employed progressive brushwork applied in emphatic dots, daubs, and stitchlike strokes in the background, which contrasts with an academic handling of the figure. This postimpressionist method suggests the influence of the Swiss-Italian painter Giovanni Segantini (1858–1899), whose work was very popular in America at the time.

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