Ada Gilmore Chaffee - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, October 24, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Ada Gilmore Chaffee’s early imagery is dominated by scenes of the idyllic lifestyle and introspective activities of Provincetown women. The present print, Silva Sisters, illustrates the daughters of a local merchant family, the pair strolling through Provincetown with flowers in hand. The Silva sisters had additional ties to the Provincetown Printers beyond their portrayal in this print by Chaffee: in the prominent fishing village of Provincetown, the Silva family’s fish market was financially able to support the first exhibition catalogues of the Provincetown Art Association, and one Silva daughter is recorded as performing as a solo vocalist at the 1917 Valentine’s Day party held by the Association.1


    Chaffee’s woodcuts of local women are among the most modern, patterned, and vividly colored of all the Provincetown prints, as illustrated in the boldly outfitted Silva sisters and the exuberant rendering of the surrounding Provincetown landscape. This depiction of sisterhood echoes not only Chaffee’s close friendship with fellow printmaker Mildred McMillen, but the close-knit ties of the largely female group of Provincetown Printers, many of whom were drawn to the one-block printing technique due to its accessibility to women artists; compared to printing methodologies like lithography, a more time-consuming process largely facilitated by male-dominated studios, the woodblock print had a closer adjacence to the arts and crafts movement and offered a more tactile, handcrafted process.



    1 Mary Ryan Gallery, Ada Gilmore: Woodcuts and Watercolors, 1988, p. 7.

    • Provenance

      Mary Ryan Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1988

    • Exhibited

      Mary Ryan Gallery, New York, Ada Gilmore: Woodcuts and Watercolors, June 29 - July 30, 1988 (this impression)
      Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, Massachusetts, Ada Gilmore: Woodcuts and Watercolors, October 7 - November 20, 1988 (this impression)

    • Literature

      Mary Ryan Gallery, Ada Gilmore: Woodcuts and Watercolors, 1988, cat. no. 1 (this impression)
      Barbara Stern Shapiro, Blanche Lazzell and the Color Woodcut, 2002, cat. no. 89, p. 62

Property from a Distinguished Maryland Estate


The Silva Sisters

White-line woodcut in colors, on wove paper, with margins.
I. 9 7/8 x 9 7/8 in. (25.1 x 25.1 cm)
S. 11 1/4 x 12 7/8 in. (28.6 x 32.7 cm)

Signed, titled and dated in pencil, additionally signed, dated and annotated ‘Provincetown’ in ink in the image, framed.

Full Cataloguing

$4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for $25,400

Contact Specialist
212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24-26 October 2023