This southwest landscape named At Seven Palms by Carl Hoerman (1885 – 1955) suffers from a vertical tear above the tree in the foreground, small dots of paint loss, a coat of varnish that’s past its prime and changing color, and dirt accumulation that softens the paint color.
According to the artist’s note, At Seven Palms is a scene from the Colorado Desert which itself is a part of the Sonoran Desert, located oddly enough in southeastern California. Elevation ranges from 3,000 feet to a low of 275 feet below sea level in the Salton Trough. Due to its location, the Colorado Desert has a subtropical desert climate with infrequent freezing temperatures, and a measly 2-3 inches of rain per year. Most of the rain comes in the winter, but as much as half its yearly quota can come via summer monsoon spilling over from Arizona and Mexico. The growing season lasts from 250 to 350 days, and summer temperatures can exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The background in the landscape is likely a part of the Peninsular Ranges, a group of mountain ranges that stretch 930 miles, ranging in elevation from 500 to 10,834 feet. The Peninsular Ranges are also the reason for the Colorado Desert’s dry climate, as they block most of the precipitation brought by weather systems.
Carl Hoerman, born in Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1903, at the age of eighteen. He studied and then worked as an architect in Chicago until 1920, when he built a studio and art gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan. Hoerman, with his wife, Christiana, also an artist, frequently traveled to the West and Southwest where Carl would paint desert, Grand Canyon, and mountain scenes. Later, Hoerman would become known as a “dunes painter,” because of his western Michigan landscapes.
The painting has been removed from its frame, carefully cleaned, and re-stretched. The old varnish has also been removed. Colors have already sharpened and given the landscape greater contrast which adds weight to the mountain background and allows the painting to be more dynamic. Addressing the tear and the spots of paint loss are forthcoming. Stay tuned for more . . .