The Bass Season by John Atherton

  • This highly detailed fisherman's still life is the work of American artist John Atherton
  • Entitled The Bass Season, it was featured on the June 29, 1946 Saturday Evening Post cover
  • His detailed still lifes of nostalgic Americana made him an extremely successful commercial artist
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5212

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John Atherton
1900-1952 | American

The Bass Season
Saturday Evening Post cover, June 29, 1946

Signed "Atherton" (lower right)
Inscribed "The Bass Season opens in the east July 1st / out west earlier" (en verso)
Oil on canvas

The art of fishing is celebrated in this exceptional oil on canvas by the great American painter John Atherton. Atherton's cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post were each a resounding success with the American public, who were engrossed by his highly detailed still lifes of distinctly American pastimes. This fishing still life graced the June 29, 1946 edition of the Post, and it is a stunning celebration of the time-honored essence of the sport. 

An avid fisherman himself, Atherton did not have to go far for inspiration. The various flies and lures in the scene are painstakingly rendered, and they very well may have been his own. He would later write an influential book on the subject of fly-fishing, entitled The Fly and the Fish, which was published in 1951 and is still read to this day. His appreciation for the sport is keenly felt in this carefully designed composition, from the dangling flies to the bucolic lake in the distance.

Atherton would become known as a significant figure in the Magic Realism movement of the 1930s and 40s, an American take on the Surrealists. His initial success, however, came from his commercial illustration work for popular publications such as Fortune and the Saturday Evening Post. Throughout the 1940s, he was a frequent exhibitor at most of the major American art institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He created his first cover for the Post in 1942, and he continued to create covers with some regularity until 1961. Today, his works can be seen in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.

Painted in 1946

Canvas: 26" high x 20" wide
Frame: 33 1/2" high x 27 3/8" wide
The Bass Season by John Atherton
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: America
Type: Paintings
Depth: 1.5 Inches
Width: 27.38 Inches
Height: 33.5 Inches
Style: Illustration
Canvas Width: 20 Inches
Canvas Height: 26 Inches
The Bass Season by John Atherton
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