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Henry George Keller (1870-1949), Premature Winter, c. 1916-1919; oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches (Frame: 36 1/2 x 46 1/2 inches); Gift of Mr. Andrew W. Oppman, 1973

Henry George Keller (1870-1949), Premature Winter, c. 1916-1919; oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches (Frame: 36 1/2 x 46 1/2 inches); Gift of Mr. Andrew W. Oppman, 1973

Henry G. Keller, who was Charles Burchfield’s favorite professor at the Cleveland School of Art, mimicked 18th and 19th-century Japanese aesthetics in his purely American painting. Instead of depicting herons perched asymmetrically by blossoming cherry trees set against a solid gold background, Keller painted turkeys beneath an apple tree, its abundant crop partially covered by early snowfall accentuated by reflective gold sunlight. With respect for the serenely poetic articulation of the seasons in Asian art, Keller provided a harsher, more rugged reality of early winter in the American Midwest.