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Provenance

The artist; his estate; (sale, American Art Galleries, New York, 30 March 1911, no. 599); Hamilton Easter Field [d. 1922];[1] bequeathed to Robert Laurent;[2] sold March 1966 to (Graham Gallery, New York); purchased 15 August 1966 by NGA.

Exhibition History
1909
Exhibition of Glass, Oil and Water Color Paintings and Sketches by John La Farge, N.A., M. Knoedler and Co., New York, 1909, no. 71.
1909
Oil and Water Color Paintings and Sketches by John La Farge, N.A., Doll and Richards, Boston, 1909, no. 30.
1909
Thirteenth Annual Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, April-June 1909, no. 162.
1911
Brooklyn Loan Exhibit, Brooklyn Art Association, 1911, no. 72, as Tantiva [sic] River, Tahiti.
1921
Second Annual Exhibition, American and European Art, Dallas Art Association, 1921, no. 169, as In the South Sea Islands.
1932
American Painting and Sculpture, 1862-1962, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1932-1933, no. 66, as Landscape, Tahiti.
1936
An Exhibition of the Work of John La Farge, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1936, no. 30, as Scene in Tahiti.
1938
A Century of American Landscape Painting, 1800-1900, Whitney Museum of American Art (no. 41); Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts (no. 37); Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh (no. 75), 1938-1939, as Scene in Tahiti.
1948
John La Farge, 1835-1910, Loan Exhibition, Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1948, probably no. 26.
1948
The Coast and the Sea, Brooklyn Museum, 1948-1949, no. 70, as Scene in Tahiti.
1965
The Collection of Robert and Mimi Laurent and the Field Foundation Collection, Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington; Colby College Art Museum, Waterville, Maine, 1965, no. 53, as Scene in Tahiti.
1966
John La Farge, 1835-1910, Graham Gallery, New York, 1966, no. 48, as Scene in Tahiti, Entrance to the Tautira River.
1981
Loan for display with permanent collection, Timken Art Gallery, San Diego, California, 1981.
1987
John La Farge, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1987-1988, no. 84.
2007
James Graham & Sons: Celebrating 150 Years, James Graham & Sons, Inc., New York, 2007, unnumbered catalogue, fig. 28.
2010
John La Farge's Second Paradise: Voyages in the South Seas, 1890-1891, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, 2010-2011, no. 42, figs. 37, 63, and 107.
Bibliography
1909
"La Farge Art Studies An Interesting Exhibition." Boston Daily Advertiser (20 March 1909).
1909
"La Farge's Work Put on Exhibition." The New York Times (2 March 1909).
1909
"Mr. John La Farge's Exhibition." Boston Evening Transcript (19 March 1909).
1911
C[ortissoz], R[oyal]. "Paintings and Other Works Left by the Late John La Farge." New-York Daily Tribune (25 March 1911).
1921
Watson, Forbes. "The Dallas Exhibition." Arts 1 (April 1921): repro. 30.
1936
"Metropolitan Museum Holds Centennial for the Fecund La Farge." Art Digest 10 (April 1936): repro. 34.
1936
Sayre, Ann Hamilton. "The Complete Work of John La Farge at the Metropolitan." Art News 34 (28 March 1936): 6.
1951
Katz, Ruth Berenson. "John La Farge as Painter and Critic." Ph.D. dissertation, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1951: fig. 63, the medium misidentified as watercolor.
1969
Bullard, E. John. "John La Farge at Tautira, Tahiti." Report and Studies in the History of Art 2 (1968-69): 2:146-154, fig. 1.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 78, repro., as Afterglow, Tautira River, Tahiti.
1973
Dimensions of Polynesia. Exh. cat. Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, 1973: repro. viii.
1976
Yarnall, James Leo. "John La Farge and Henry Adams in the South Seas." M.A. thesis, University of Chicago, 1976: 48-50, fig. 17.
1977
Mandel, Patricia C. F. Selection VII: American Paintings from the Museum's Collection, c. 1800-1930. Exh. cat. Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1977: 76.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 192, repro.
1981
Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: color repro. 160, 184-185, as Afterglow, Tautira River, Tahiti.
1981
Yarnall, James Leo. "The Role of Landscape in the Art of John La Farge." Ph.D. dissertation, Univeristy of Chicago, 1981: 394-398, 404, fig. 213.
1985
Adams, Henry. "Regaining a Paradise: Artist John La Farge and Historian Henry Adams Found Spiritual Renewal in the South Seas." Art and Antiques (March 1985): color repro. 60-61.
1987
John La Farge. Exh. cat. National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York, 1987: no. 84.
1988
Denslow, Julie S., and Christine Padoch, eds. People of the Tropical Rainforest. Exh. cat. Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, traveling exh. Berkeley, 1988: color repro. 47.
1988
Yarnall, James Leo. "John La Farge and Henry Adams in the South Seas." The American Art Journal 20 (1988): 78-79, 106, fig. 29.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 224, repro.
1996
Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 398-403, color repro.
Technical Summary

The support is a very fine, plain-weave fabric that has been lined. The original tacking margins are intact. The thin white ground appears to have been commercially applied. A pale underlayer of pinkish wash is visible in the foreground, while a brighter red underlayer was used in the sky. Subsequent paint is opaque and was applied very thinly and dryly over the fabric nubs. A group of horizontal scratches through the paint layer in the lower left corner appears to be intentional. The surface seems to be selectively varnished, with neighboring areas alternately matte and glossy. Several small damages throughout the surface have been repaired and inpainted.