Edward Redfield painted The Mill in Winter in seven hours on a snowy December day in 1921 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Early in the morning, he loaded a large fifty-by-fifty-six canvas (he called them 50-56s) into his pickup truck and drove less than a mile from his home to a site near the mill at Centerville. The large canvas was hard to maneuver; Redfield recalled that he attached crossbars to the backs of the stretchers to be able to transport the big picture more easily. But the canvas's size was not the greatest challenge he faced. He had to dress in several layers of woolen clothing and heavy boots and wore fingerless gloves to keep warm. It was so cold that his paint froze in the tubes. "You have to reduce with a great deal of oil in order to make it soft enough to manipulate, " he said, "It's quite a job to cover a canvas that size with small brushes. And mix the many mixes that you make. And you are drawing the same time that you are painting."
Redfield was proud of his ability to complete a 50-56 painting in one day but before he began he would have spent days visiting the site, choosing his viewpoint, studying its nuances, and carefully planning how to paint it so that he could be ready to capture the light of an exact time of day as it appeared before his eyes. The Mill in Winter is painted in a style that parallels the artist's rugged persona. The palette is spare: Redfield uses a range of dove grays, green-grays, and blue-grays, pale yellow, and lavender to render both the landscape and the mill. Thick swaths of paint are brusquely applied, coming to together when seen at a distance to create the appearance of a cold, still river, snow-laden trees, and a vast expanse of overcast sky.
Like many of his generation, Redfield believed in painting specific locales because they had the potential to present nature in its most characteristic form. Centerville, Pennsylvania, as well as the area in and around the ten acres the artist owned in Center Bridge, offered viewpoints, foliage, and scenery that could be differentiated not only from the Hudson River views of earlier generations but from European scenery as well. Redfield's scenes that included structures like the mill, with its simple, barnlike architecture, were not only Pennsylvanian but also uniquely American.
lower right: E W REDFIELD
The artist; acquired 15 December 1923 by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; acquired 2014 by the National Gallery of Art.
Associated NamesCorcoran Gallery of Art
- Winter Exhibition, National Academy of Design, New York, 17 November - 17 December 1922, no. 337.
- Ninth Exhibition of Contemporary American Oil Paintings, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 16 December 1923 - 10 January 1924, no. 131.
- An Exhibition of American Painting form Colonial Times until Today, Saginaw Museum, 10 January - 15 February 1948, no. 47.
- American Landscape Painters, 1800-1960, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1961, no. 26.
- A Century and a Half of American Painting, Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, 1963, no. 25.
- Extended loan to GEICO Headquarters, Washington, November 1978.
- The Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting: An Original American Impressionism, Allentown Art Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Westmoreland Museum of Art, Greenburg; Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford,, 1984, no checklist.
- The Forty-Fifth Biennial: The Corcoran Collects, 1907–1998, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 17 July - 29 September 1998, unnumbered catalogue.
- The Impressionist Tradition in America, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 2003-2004, unpublished checklist.
- Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, 2005-2007, checklist no. 81.
- The American Evolution: A Hisotry through Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 2008, unpublished checklist.
- American Journeys: Visions of Place, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 21 September 2013-28 September 2014, unpublished checklist.
- Mechlin, Leila. "Notes of Art and Artists [exh.review]." The Washington Star (16 December 1923): 2: 13.
- Merrick, Lula. "In the World of Art [exh. review]." New York Morning Telegraph (23 December 1923): 9.
- "Ninth Biennial is a Brilliant Exhibit." Art News 22, no. 11 (22 December 1923): 4.
- Perkins, Harley. "Contemporary American Art Shown at National Capital [exh. review]." Boston Evening Transcript (19 December 1923): 3: 2.
- "The World of Art: Ninth Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting at the Corcoran Gallery [exh. review]." The New York Times (23 December 1923): Magazine section: 10.
- Barker, Virgil. "Notes ont he Exhibitions [exh. review]." Arts 5, no. 1 (January 1924): 39.
- Wright, Helen. "Sales at Corcoran Now Total $42,000." American Art News (12 January 1924): 2.
- Rice, Diana. "Washington's Corcoran Gallery Grows." The New York Times (30 August 1925): Magazine section: 23.
- Wheeler, Charles V. Redfield. Washington, D.C., 1925: cover, repro.
- Wheeler, Charles V. "Redfiled." The American Magazine of Art 16, no. 1 (January 1925): 3, repro.
- Lucas, E. V. "Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield." Ladies Home Journal (May 1926): 20, engraving after painting.
- Neuhaus, Eugen. The History and Ideals of American Art. Stanford, California, 1931: 278, repro.
- "Corcoran Gallery Places Crosby's Drawings on Exhibition." The Washington Post (31 December 1933 ): Magazine section: 15.
- Wilson, Vylla Poe. "Fourteenth Biennial Exhibition Focuses Art World's Eyes on Corcoran Gallery Here [exh. review]." The Washington Post (3 March 1935): Arts and Hobbies: 5.
- Fletcher, J. M. W. " Ninety Minute Taped Interview of Edward W. Redfield, dean of the New Hope Art Colony by Robert H. Lippincott, 4 March 1963." InEdward Willis Redfield, 1869-1965: An American Impressionist. Lahaska, PA, 1996: 24, repro.
- Fletcher, J. M. W. Edward Willis Redfield 1869-1965: An American Impressionist, the Redfield Letters Seven Decades of Correspondence Plus. 2 vols. Lahaska, PA , 2002: 1: 203, repro., 245; 2: 272-73, 275-76.
- Berlow, Ellen, J. "Delware's Rediscovered Artist [exh. review]." Delmarva Quarterly (Winter 2003): 14 repro., 17.
- Kimmerle, Constance. Edward W. Redfield: Just Values and Fine Seeing. Exh. cat. James A. Michener Art Museum, New Hope, PA, 2004: 41, 88. repro.
- Strong, Lisa. "Edward Willis Redfield, The Mill in Winter." In Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945. Edited by Sarah Cash. Washington, 2011: 228-229, 281, repro.