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Edmund Henry Wuerpel

An Evening Song

19th century

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Born in St. Louis, trained in Paris, and later director of the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts—a precursor to both the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum—Edmund Wuerpel created visions of harmonious landscape settings, often devoid of people or buildings, that can be associated with the international Aesthetic movement led by James McNeill Whistler in the 1870s and 1880s. In the aestheticized vision of nature depicted in "An Evening Song," the red orb of the setting sun silhouettes the lush trees on the horizon and casts their elongated shadows onto the pristine lake in the foreground. On the highly finished and glossy surface of the painting, the delicate tracery of the lily pads and rushes resembles the patterning and finish of Japanese decorative arts and aligns the work with a fashionable cosmopolitan ideal that celebrated formal affinities of color, texture, and mood. The reference to music in the title of the painting helps disassociate the scene from any specific placeor time, emphasizing the artist’s manipulation of aesthetic elements for evocative effect. [Exhibition label, 2013]

  • Artist Edmund Henry Wuerpel (American, 1866–1958)
  • Title An Evening Song
  • Date 19th century
  • Medium Oil on masonite
  • Dimensions unframed | 24 1/8 x 18 1/4 in.
  • Credit line University purchase, Subscription Fund, 1898
  • Object number WU 2224

Real / Radical / Psychological: The Collection on Display
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/09/2016 - 01/15/2017

American Places: Painting the Landscape in the Nineteenth Century
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/20/2013 - 01/06/2014

Edmund Wuerpel Retrospective Exhibit
St. Louis Artists’ Guild (St. Louis, Missouri), 03/20/1988 - 04/20/1988

The Way We See It: America by Americans 1850–1980
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 10/10/1982 - 11/07/1982

Impressionism Reflected: American Art, 1890–1920
Saint Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, Missouri), 05/06/1982 - 06/27/1982

Centennial Faculty Show
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 11/11/1979 - 01/31/1980

Inscription Recto, lower right corner, in green paint: E.H.W.

This artwork record may be incomplete or need refinement. Our staff actively researches the collection and revises records when new information is available. If you have questions or comments about this record, please contact us.