Paul Starrett Sample (1896 - 1974)
Gold Mine, c. 1933
Oil on canvas
20 1/4 x 24 1/4 inches
Signed lower right: PAUL SAMPLE
Titled on label on reverse: Gold Mine
Ferargil Galleries, New York, solo exhibition (possibly)
Paul Starrett Sample was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1894, and went to Dartmouth College, where he is said to have slept through art appreciation courses, in preference for the sporting life, boxing in particular. Sample served in the Merchant Marines during World War I, although he suffered tuberculosis after he returned home. Sample devoted himself to painting during his recuperation, and studied with Jonas Lie. After briefly studying painting in New York, Sample headed to California. There he studied at the Otis Institute and the Los Angeles Art Students League with Stanton MacDonald Wright and Frank Tolles Chamberlain.
By 1926, Sample began teaching painting at the University of Southern California. In December 1934, Time magazine recognized him as one of the dozen foremost painters in America, a group that included Benton, Wood, and Curry. He was the subject of a feature article in LIFE magazine in 1937. In 1938, Sample returned to his alma matter, Dartmouth College, as artist-in-residence, and remained there until his retirement in 1962.
Sample painted with a robust, American Regionalist style, characterized by firmly defined figures and a no-nonsense sensibility. While Sample could no longer lead the sporting life of his youth, his paintings are often filled with sturdy, capable characters, drawn with palpable strength. During his career, Sample exhibited with Feragil Galleries and then Associated American Artists and Vose Galleries in Boston. He also exhibited frequently at the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Carnegie Institute, and the Worcester Museum. He had many other successful solo and group shows during his long career.
This work was executed near Randsburg, California, an area of strip mining which interested Paul Sample from 1933 to 1935. It is likely that this painting was included in Sample’s first solo exhibition at his New York dealer Ferargil Galleries, as the title Gold Mine is included in the catalogue list of 24 paintings.