“When a man paints, he expresses his whole life, what he’s done and experienced. If you are bold and outgoing, your work will show it.” – Emile Albert Gruppe.
James D. Julia has established itself as the premier auction house specializing in paintings from the Cape Ann (Massachusetts) School of artists. From the mid-19th century onward, this seaside destination established itself as the ideal East Coast artist colony, given its extraordinary ocean views, picturesque landscapes and gardens and dramatic seasonal changes. In 1921, Aldro T. Hibbard started the Rockport Art Association, an organization celebrating and promoting artists and artwork from the Cape Ann area.
Julia’s often features the works of one well known Cape Ann artist, Emile Albert Gruppe. He is especially famous for his landscapes, fishing and fisherman themed works and paintings of the ocean. Emile was born in 1896 in Rochester, NY to Helen and Charles P. Gruppe. The artistic influence was very strong in this family; Gruppe’s father was also a painter and an art dealer and all three of the Gruppe siblings went on to artistic careers. Emile spent most of his childhood years in the Netherlands, where his father painted and represented Dutch painters to US collectors. The family returned to the USA in 1913 in anticipation of the onset of WWI. Back in the states, Emile studied at the National Academy of Design in New York and at the Art Students League from 1914 until 1920.
Emile dedicated himself to painting in 1915, at the age of 19. In 1925, after seeing paintings from the Rockport and Gloucester areas at an exposition, he visited the area to see it firsthand – and fell in love with it at first sight. Soon after, he moved to Cape Ann where he blossomed amongst the creative community and fellow artists – including Anthony Thieme, Marguerite Pierson, Antonio Cirino, W. Lester Stevens and Aldro Hibbard. His mentors included his father, Charles Hawthorne, George Bridgman, Charles Chapman and Richard Miller, and John F. Carlson. In 1942, he and Carlson later went on to found the Gruppe Summer School that specialized in plein air techniques. This program remained in operation through the mid 1970s. Although primarily known for his Cape Ann themed work, Emile also produced numerous fine canvases featuring favorite scenery from Vermont, Florida and the Bahamas.
Emile was a well liked, outgoing, energetic, and prolific artist. He is known for his marvelous hybrid of realism and impressionism. In 1978, he revealed, “If you want exacting details in a painting, then you might as well look at a photograph. I make an impression on canvas, and let one’s imagination fill in the details.” Over time, his work won numerous prestigious awards, was featured at the National Academy of Design, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the North Shore Art Association and the Rockport Art Association. Emile was a member of the Allied Artists of America, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the North Shore Art Association, the Gloucester Society of Artists, the Rochester Art Association, the Sarasota Art Association, the St. Augustine Art Association, and the Salmagundi Club of New York, among others.
Today, Emile’s paintings remain extremely popular with collectors worldwide and are displayed at many important venues, including the White House. And collectors are willing to turn over a pretty penny to own one of his masterpieces. The highest price ever paid for one of his works was in 2008, when his 36” x 40” “First Snow” realized close to $60,000 at auction.
Since 2002, James D. Julia has had the distinct pleasure of handing over 150 of Emile Albert Gruppe’s works. Highlights include his 24” x 20” “Morning Along Creek, 1928” which realized $24,150; his 25” x 30” “Winter Reflections” which realized $24,150; and his 24” x 36” “Water Lilies” which realized $34,500. Most recently, our Winter 2016 Fine Art, Asian and Antiques sales event showcased his 30” x 36” “Gloucester Morning” which realized $11,850 and his 25″ x 30″ “Shadowed Snowbank Stream” which realized $10,665.
If you have an Emile Gruppe, and are interested in selling it, or getting an auction estimate of value, please contact us. We are the foremost auctioneer in the world for Cape Ann School Fine art.