Edward Potthast Information and Inventory

Edward Potthast

(1857 - 1927)

Edward Potthast


Quiet, modest, and by some accounts generally unsatisfied with any of his paintings, Edward Potthast does not quite seem to fit the joyous, colorful images of the seashore with playing children, rolling surf, and brightly colored umbrellas, with which he is now associated. As dominant a theme as his beach pictures are today, many people are unaware of the breadth and scope of his work, as well as the fact that he did not produce his signature beach images until around age forty. Edward Potthast’s training and development as an artist were gradual. He worked many years as an illustrator; visited, studied, and painted in a number of European countries; and became an accomplished painter of parks, cityscapes, Western images of the Grand Canyon, night landscapes, and even portraits. As far as I am aware, Chapellier Gallery was the first dealer to bring Potthast to the attention of the viewing public in 1968. My father acquired an early example, painted in Holland during the artist’s second extended stay in Europe, circa 1889. This painting reflects the start of Potthast’s synthesis of the Barbizon influence, with a tentative use of the Impressionist’s palette—at least this is how that consummate art dealer, Mr. Chapellier, described the painting. Armed with my newly acquired knowledge, I discovered Hauling Nets, a Gloucester watercolor, while on a business trip to San Francisco in 1969. I was convinced I had gotten to California before the East Coast prices crossed the country. The art world was not as transparent in those days. A small pair of rocky coastal images, probably painted in Maine, was acquired a few years later at the Spanierman Gallery. There are many ways of complimenting an artist, but a writer for the New York Sun, clearly an antiprohibitionist lamenting the lack of drink, found a new one: seeing a Potthast beach scene in a gallery window, he wrote that it was so cheerful and vivid, “it took your mind off Prohibition and everything… it was the next best thing to a cocktail.”  High praise indeed. 

Edward Potthast Gallery

No paintings by this author