A haunting and epic large scale finely detailed and tonally impacting oil on canvas painting by Charles E. Chambers. An orientalist Black Market alter scene that utilizes ocher and umber tones in a dark and menacing suspense filled manner. This was an interior illustration for “Sons” the second book in the Good Earth trilogy by Pulitzer Prize winning author Pearl S. Buck as it was serialized in Cosmopolitan magazine (May, 1932). This eerie and emotionally powerful image illustrates a pivotal scene in which the Wang family, having lost their fortune through opium promiscuity, is forced to sell their village estate and its contents, in a black market auction of sorts.
Work is in a fine state of conservation and framed in a lovely wide profile American Arts & Crafts – Plein air aesthetic gallery frame.
CHARLES EDWARD CHAMBERS (1883-1941) was born in Ottawa, Iowa, studied at the Chicago Art Institute and later at the Art Student League in New York with George Bridgman.
His illustrations were extremely competent, marked by subtlety of value and color. He learned early to adapt his method of painting for the best possible reproduction and to insure fidelity of printing; he often followed the assignments through to the hands of the platemaker.
Chambers divided his time almost equally between editorial and advertising assignments. Among his advertising commissions was an outstanding series of portraits of musicians for Steinway & Sons. He also did a great number of distinctive illustrations for twenty- four- sheet outdoor posters, notably for Chesterfield and Palmolive Soap which set high standards for that field.
He illustrated stories in most of the major magazines, for such authors as Pearl Buck, Louis Bromfield, Faith Baldwin, and W. Somerset Maugham; worked under exclusive contract for Cosmopolitan magazine for many years.
Among his numerous awards was the second Altman Prize at the National Academy of Design Exhibition in 1931, for his portrait of watercolorist and fellow-illustrator, John Alonzo Williams.