Five and a half feet by three and a half feet, if you’re going to paint the Grand Canyon you should embrace it. And Carl Hoerman (1885 – 1955) seems to have done just that. A few figures bottom-right ground the painting and add a human element but also enhance the scale of the Grand Canyon with how small the people are drawn. The rock formations in the background adopt blue tones the way ozone effects eyesight over long distances giving a sense of depth and a red-clay color emerges that is also found in the foreground rocks. It’s these intricate color tones that were compromised behind heavy dirt, smoke contamination, and an old discolored varnish.
This was a relatively quick turnaround. A few switchback passes with cotton tips and cotton pads, and then a few more switchback passes, and we were able to lift a tremendous amount of contaminates. And what really helped the colors stand out was a new coat of conservation varnish. After delivery with a box truck, we hung the painting and are very pleased with the new clarity and color tones that the painting has.
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. Hoerman built multiple homes in the Southwest, including the Casa del Desierto, in 1946, at Rancho Mirage, a small community between Palm Springs and Indio, a close proximity to where this landscape painting is believed to depict. By 1952, deteriorating health, forced Hoerman to forgo travels to the West. Carl Hoerman passed away on November 8, 1955 in Douglas, Michigan.