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Grizzly" California Redwood Tree.

Grizzly” California Redwood Tree.

Hill, Thomas. c. 1890. Oil painting on unprimed redwood panel, 9.5 x 45", signed T. Hill, with painted title "Grizzly". Minor wear to board edges, a few light scuffs to the upper surface, very good. An unusual "portrait" of the famous "Grizzly Giant" sequoia tree in Yosemite National Park by one of the finest painters of California landscape. Thomas Hill (1829-1908) was born in Birmingham, England, and emigrated to America at the age of 15. Strongly influenced by the Hudson River School of painters, Hill produced some of the best known monumental vistas of Yosemite as well as the famous painting the "Last Spike", celebrating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. He eventually moved his studio to Wawona just outside of Yosemite Valley, where it became a mecca for tourists. This painting was one of several such perhaps executed for the tourist trade and is usually found as a pair with a portrait of another famous tree, the "Wawona". A pair of such paintings was donated to the Bancroft Library in 1971 by Warren Howell. Pairs are not exceedingly rare but they are highly valued as signed works by one of the West's foremost painters, and as literal, highly-evocative relics of the first days of Yosemite National Park (established in 1890). Three pairs have sold at auction in the past two years, all at Bonham's: for $26,250 in April 2018, $52,500 in August 2018, and $31,325 in April 2019. The "Grizzly" itself still stands in Yosemite's Mariposa Grove. It is estimated to be 34,005 cubic feet in volume and 1700 years old.