oil on board
8 x 10 inches
10 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches (frame)
The painting is unsigned, but it will be accompanied by a 1979 notarized document, in which the artist’s niece, Louise Walker, of Barnstable, Massachusetts, states:
“Painting by my uncle, Ferdinand Graham Walker, of a property on Beharrel (sic) Ave., New Albany, Indiana, at the time when it was owned and occupied by my family. The painting has belonged to relatives from the time it was done to the present.”
Ferdinand Walker, described in a 1925 newspaper article as an artist "who studied under the masters of France and who painted pictures of some of the countries (sic) noted people," was a Wonderland Way painter who had studios in Louisville, Kentucky, and in New Albany, Indiana, his native state. He made two extended trips to Europe to study and work, first in the 1880s and then in the early 1900s. Among his portrait subjects were newspaper legend Henry Watterson and John Breckinridge Castleman, a major force in the Olmsted parks system in Louisville. He also did portraits of long-dead governors for the Kentucky Historical Society – and even one of Daniel Boone, now in the Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky.
Of all the older Wonderland Way artists, he was probably the most schooled in his profession, and his French training separates him stylistically from those more well-known Hoosier artists who studied in Munich, Germany. Ferdinand Walker was one of six artists chosen for the First Annual Exhibition of Paintings by New Albany Artists at James L. Russell's Art Shop in 1914. He was one of the artists featured in the 2013 Artists of the Wonderland Way exhibition at the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany and an image of this painting was the cover of the catalog.
Walker is represented in the Speed Art Museum collection with a European scene and with landscapes in the collection of the Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site in New Albany. Walker paintings of identifiable scenes in Louisville and New Albany rarely come to the market.
© 2019 Warren and Julie Payne