Walter Launt Palmer (1854–1932)
Winter Morning, 1915
Oil on canvas, 28 x 18 in.
Signed lower right: W. L. Palmer
Provenance: with M. Knoedler & Company, New York, 1915; private collection, Winnetka, Illiniois; by descent to the collectors’ grandson, Hazleton, Pennsylvania; by descent to his daughter, New Jersey, until 2011
Literature: “Just a Word,” The Independent (New York) 83 (December 20, 1915), 453, illustrated on front cover; Maybelle Mann, Walter Launt Palmer: Poetic Reality (Exton, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1984), 93 (illustrated), no. 692.
Winter Morning depicts the road through a rural farm covered in snow. In the slanting sunlight, the shadows of unseen trees on the right fall crookedly over deep ruts in the snow where a wagon has passed by. Snow-covered logs can be seen in and around the woodpile in the foreground, and the barn in the left middle ground appears to shelter a quantity of hay in its open lower story. A fir towers over the barn, its short, wide boughs encumbered with snow, while the thin, leafless branches of deciduous trees on the right reach directly up to the sky. Beyond these trees, a hazy vista opens up toward a distant wooded ridge. Palmer used yellows, pinks, and blues in the foreground snow, and sprinkled in touches of orange and red to suggest the warmth of the sun on the woodpile and the barn.
Until recently, Winter Morning was known only through a color reproduction on the cover of the New York magazine The Independent. In a note about the illustration, the author described Palmer and his work:
[He is] an American artist of prominence, whose fame is due chiefly to his portrayal of nature out of doors. ‘Winter Morning’—one of his latest paintings—is perhaps one of the most characteristic—since it is in his interpretation of snow scenes that Mr. Palmer has done some of his best work. ‘He has caught the subtle relations of sunshine or shadow on the white surfaces with rare dexterity, and obtained satisfactory conclusions; he has drawn, too, the tree form with fidelity, with much understanding of the anatomy, and with grace of line and form.’”
Although Palmer often painted in a vertical format, he only used the 28 x 18 in. size of Winter Morning during the years 1914-15, including for November Snow, 1914, which was exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1916.
 “Just a Word,” The Independent (New York) 83 (December 20, 1915), 453.