Erastus Field biblical scene makes a rare appearance on the winter catwalk
PLAINVILLE, CONN. – A Connecticut estate material bid was presented at a live auction by Winter Associates on October 3, along with a rare private oil on canvas attributed to Erastus Salisbury Field (American, 1805-1900) from an estate from New Haven making an equally rare appearance across the block. Between 1865 and 1880 Field created a series of paintings depicting the Ten Plagues of Egypt to decorate the walls of the North Congregational Church in North Amherst, Mass. other biblical works were no doubt the result of his childhood relationship with this church. Known as unusually progressive and committed to the biblical text, the church’s congregation included many members of the Amherst Anti-Slavery Society decades before the Civil War, which in 1830 removed a clause that denied blacks the privilege of a seat. Inspired by a mezzotint from English artist John Martin’s “Seventh Plague of Egypt”, Field’s version of “Aaron in a Hailstorm” depicts a port city in a violent storm, viewed from a terrace above , with the figure of Aaron, arms raised, pointing his staff at the panicked crowds below. The 21 ¾ by 26 ½ inch painting led the sale of the business, bidding at $9,000 including the buyer’s premium. Other highlights of this sale will be presented in a later review.