American, 1890 - 1955
Signed and dated G.V. Sinclair '32 lower right; signed titled and dated on reverse.
This watercolor depicts the corner of North Avenue and 17th Street in Milwaukee's North Side. The building on the left with the striped awning has stood for over 100 years and is the location of the city's historic Jake's Delicatessen.
Gerrit V. Sinclair’s paintings chronicled American life in Wisconsin and the Midwest from the 1920s through the 1950s. While he served in Italy during World War I as an ambulance driver and also painted in Paris in 1930, Sinclair largely ignored modern European trends in art in favor of developing a warm figurative style that embraced the dignity of life in ordinary American towns and rural locales. Sinclair’s regionalist views of the American scene focus on the “virtues of family, patriotism, hard work and the simple pleasures of daily life”. An instructor at the Layton School of Art, Sinclair influenced numerous young artists getting their start in Milwaukee. In addition, Sinclair worked for the WPA during the Great Depression, completing murals entitled “Lumbering” and “Rural Mail” for the Federal Building in Wasau, Wisconsin.
Gerrit Sinclair’s paintings were exhibited at such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Carnegie Institute of Art, Pittsburgh; the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, The Century of Progress ; the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., among others.