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 Henry McDaniel  (1906 - 2008)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Nova Scotia      Known for: fishing scenes, landscape, illustrator

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Ad Code: 3
Henry McDaniel
from Auction House Records.
"The Miramichi"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted May 2005 and reviewed by the artist, is from Nicole Amoroso, Director of Avery Galleries in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Avery Galleries is working "to set the record straight" in response to the alleged forgeries. (See below)


Henry E. McDaniel of Quincy, Massachusetts, was born in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia in 1906. In 1925 he moved to Boston and enrolled in basic art classes at Vesper George School of Art, where he studied with William Hazelton, Prescott Jones, and Frank Waldo Murray. His formal artistic education was intermittent, and by consequence McDaniel largely considers himself a self-taught artist.

An accomplished angler as well as an avid outdoorsman, McDaniel was drawn to painting the landscape, namely the streams and rivers in which he fished. What began as an ardent desire to paint water as it appeared--glistening with reflective light or mottled with shade--soon turned into one of the great hallmarks of McDaniel's artistic style. His expert ability to capture the dazzling effects of light on water is rivaled only by the bravura of his brushwork. In so many of the artist's paintings, the pristine beauty of nature is rendered crisply through McDaniel's tight brushwork and marvelous sense of color, composition, and movement. The mood of his paintings often captures the quiet concentration of the angler while also giving the glory of the spectacular landscape center stage.

McDaniel's preferred medium is watercolor, which he taught himself sometime in the 1930s. A difficult medium to master, watercolor requires that an artist work quickly, almost intuitively. By consequence, McDaniel starts a painting by laying it out mentally sometimes over the course of days. He then decides how to build the composition and pencils it onto the paper using a proportional scale to establish the relationship between the forms. When he finally applies the paint, he begins with the sky, moves to the middle-ground and then to the foreground; the figures and other objects are painted last.

Like so many other landscape artists, McDaniel paints specific locales and also scenes from memory; he sometimes conflates the two, creating a composite of the real and imaginary. For him, achieving the essence of a place is not in the details per se but rather in the mood and feelings that are evoked when one experiences, or is totally enveloped, by the landscape. The immediacy and freshness of the watercolor medium lends itself well to McDaniel's intent.

Such artistic practice and subject matter begs a comparison with Winslow Homer, certainly the most famous American sporting artist and one of the great watercolorists. While McDaniel counts Homer as an influence, he never slavishly copied his style. Instead, working in the same genre as such contemporaries as Ogden Minton Pleissner, Aiden Lassell Ripley and John Whorf, McDaniel developed a signature style that was as original and dynamic as these artists. With them he shared a great love and talent for sporting art; the mastery of his technique in concert with his artistic skill secures McDaniel's place among this circle of acclaimed American painters.

Henry McDaniel's long career is highlighted by the many honors he has received. In 1958, he won the Hatfield Award and the B.L. Makepiece Award at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He won three Richard Mitten gold medal awards in 1960, 1964, and 1966 at the New England Contemporary Art Show. In 1973 the Anglers Club of New York selected his painting Fishing the Dry on the Upper Connecticut to be reproduced as a limited-edition print for their membership; previous artists chosen for this honor include Winslow Homer, Ogden Minton Pleissner, and John Atherton. In 1976 a limited-edition print of the painting Morning on Taylor Shore was jointly produced by the International Atlantic Salmon Foundation and the Crossroads of Sport.

One of these prints was presented to His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, at the International Atlantic Salmon Foundation Symposium when it was held in London in the fall of 1978. In 1986 McDaniel was commissioned to illustrate the deluxe, limited edition of "The Art of the Atlantic Salmon Fly" by the noted fly-fisherman Joseph D. Bates, III. In 1989 the Atlantic Salmon Federation named McDaniel artist of the year and in commemoration of that event reproduced Miramichi Morning as a limited-edition print. As a longtime member of the Miramichi Salmon Association and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, McDaniel recently received high recognition for his donations of artwork at various auctions over the decades. And in 2003, forty-seven of McDaniel's paintings were beautifully reproduced in a forty-page article by Douglas Marchant for the "Art of Angling Journal".

McDaniel's work has been exhibited at the New England Watercolor Society and The Museum of Fine Arts, both in Boston; The American Watercolor Society in the galleries of the National Academy of Design, The Anglers Club, Crossroads of Sports Gallery, all in New York; and a host of smaller venues. His paintings can be found in numerous private collections and the permanent collections of Miramichi Salmon Museum, New Brunswick, Canada; the American Museum of Fly Fishing, Manchester, Vermont; and the Holyoke Museum, Holyoke, Massachusetts. At one time more than sixty of his works were in the collection of The Ford Motor Company's Contemporary American Art Collection in Dearborn, Michigan. He is a member of the Guild of Boston Artists and the New England Watercolor Society.
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The family of Henry McDaniel has alerted AskART that works of art signed by John Whorf are in fact by Henry Mc Daniel. The following article addresses and appears to substantiate that claim.

"The Boston Globe

'Whose painting is it? Quincy artist, 98, finds works sold under signature of more famous colleague

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Globe Staff | April 10, 2005

QUINCY -- When watercolorist Henry McDaniel saw his brushstrokes on the cover of the spring issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal, to which he subscribes, he was elated. The steep gray banks of the Matane River in Quebec, the fly fisherman casting his line over foaming rapids, the dappled pool -- it was exactly as McDaniel remembered painting the scene.

Except that, at least according to the magazine McDaniel received in the mail last month, it wasn't his painting.

Instead of McDaniel's usual red signature, the name of John Whorf, a well-known American impressionist from the Boston area who died in 1959, floated like a white ghost in the bottom right-hand corner.

''That burned me up . . . I'm in my 99th year," McDaniel exclaimed over tea in his Quincy home. ''You just hope you can sit back and not worry about these things."

McDaniel, a former art director whose two lifelong passions are fishing and painting, was flabbergasted, and his son, Joe, who was the model for the fisherman in the painting, immediately launched an investigation.

Drawing on the elder McDaniel's keen memory and the younger's persistent
detective work, the duo has unraveled a case of what some say is a common
malpractice in the art business: using the name of a reputable artist on a work by someone less regarded to boost its value. The McDaniels say that sometime before summer 2003, Henry McDaniel's water-soluble signature was rubbed off two paintings and replaced with John Whorf's name, and they were sold for thousands more than McDaniel ever received for his work.

The art dealer for those paintings, Barridoff Galleries in Portland, Maine, is now investigating the consignor, who had said the Whorfs were acquired from a private estate. In the meantime, the McDaniels have initiated a campaign to have the forged paintings re-signed by Henry McDaniel before he dies.

They have more than their memories to back them up: The "Atlantic Salmon Journal" cover painting, identified as Whorf's ''Fishing in the Rapids," had appeared with the caption ''One of the beautiful unnamed pools" in a spread of Henry McDaniel watercolors in the July 1957 issue of the Ford Times, a magazine published by the Ford Motor Co.

Joe McDaniel ''is totally right -- it is his father" who was the artist, said Rob Elowitch, owner of Barridoff Galleries, which sold the two paintings with a Whorf signature at an August 2003 auction in Maine.

''Fishing in the Rapids" sold for $18,720 to Avery Galleries in Haverford, Pa.; the second painting, ''Fishing in the Rapids, White River, Vermont," sold for $9,945 to another gallery.

Larry Taylor, the art consultant for the "Atlantic Salmon Journal" who chose the painting as its cover art, quoted Richard Rosello, owner of Avery Galleries, as saying the work has been sold since then for about $40,000. (The gallery would not confirm the figure, for privacy reasons.) Taylor got permission to use it as the magazine's cover art free of charge.



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