Western NC Mountain Landscape with Wagon and Figures, Hudson River School Style
American School, Western North Carolina, mid 19th century oil on canvas landscape painting from the Asheville, NC region depicting a view of mountains in the background and a rocky cliffside to the left, with a winding road and wagon with cattle team lead by an African American figure in the foreground, a white figure on horseback in the mid-ground, and an African American sheep herder in the background, all under a cloudy blue sky. Signed in lower left "J.J.[illegible]. Sight: 20 1/4" H x 16 7/8" W. Framed: 26 1/8" H x 22 3/4" W. Note: Although the artist's identity remains unknown, due to the Mears family provenance this painting was likely created by a nineteenth-century artist working in the Hudson River School style and active in Western North Carolina. George Augustus Mears was born in 1838 to James Barnes Mears of Tennessee and Margaret Elvira Mears (born Penland) in North Carolina. He had 8 siblings, including Myra E. Wells (born Mears) and Lieut. Samuel Marion Mears. George married Nancy M. Mears (born Roberts) (1844-1916) and had 9 children, including Samuel Parley Mears and Ella Webster (born Mears). In 1885 he constructed the George A. Mears House located at 137 Biltmore Avenue, a two-and-a-half-story brick Queen Anne-style building listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1979. After serving in the Confederate 16th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry during the Civil War, Mears was an Asheville merchant who was in business between 1870 and 1910 on South Main Street, principally with his Mears Daylight Store, which burned in the 1920s. (Adapted from the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe Co. and Ancestry.com).
Descended in the Mears family of Asheville, North Carolina.
Condition Report: Fine craquelure throughout. Minute abrasions to edges, primarily lower corners and top edge. Scattered minute exfoliation. Patch repair en verso with corresponding retouching near wheels of wagon. Scratch to varnish lower quadrant measuring approximately 11 1/2" L.