C 1890's Joseph Gurner Fisher Charcoal Drawing Sailboat Grand River Marne Mi Yqz

C 1890's Joseph Gurner Fisher Charcoal Drawing Sailboat Grand River Marne Mi Yqz

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C 1890's Joseph Gurner Fisher Charcoal Drawing Sailboat Grand River Marne Mi Yqz:

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ORIG Artwork by Listed Michigan Artist "Charcoal King"

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Up in this sale is an original charcoal drawing, absolutely stunning from the late 1800's, by Michigan listed artist, Joseph Gurner Fisher. He was known as the “Charcoal King.” It is signed by him in the bottom right corner and in the bottom left corner it is titled simply Marne. We are assuming this is a depiction of a sailboat on the Grand River or one of its tributaries in Marne, Michigan. He lived in Grand Rapids and Marne was on the outskirts of Grand Rapids. It measures approx. 18" x 12" for the artwork, matted, glazed and framed approx. 26 3/4" x 22 1/4".

We found the following on Askart:

Joseph Gurner Fisher (1832 - 1916)
Lived/Active: Michigan Known for: landscape scenes-charcoal drawings

Joseph Gurner Fisher, or J.G. Fisher as he signed his work, was born in Stroud, England, and came to the United States as a boy, the family settling in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. By 1863, he was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he lived and worked the rest of his life.

According to Grand Rapids city directories, Fisher worked as a baker in the mid-1880’s and later in a sawmill. Although he received no formal training, that did not seem to deter him from considering himself an artist for by 1890 he was listed in the city directory as such.

Fisher worked in oils, watercolors and crayon and, according to his brief biography in the 1976 Michigan State University exhibition “Early Michigan Paintings,” he was known as the “Charcoal King.” The catalog further states: “During his career, Fisher contracted to sell all his works for twenty-five dollars a week to A. Augustus Healy, an art dealer and president of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (now the Brooklyn Museum). This agreement apparently proved more lucrative for Healy than for Fisher.

Most of Fisher’s subjects were local scenes which he drew directly from nature. It is estimated that he executed over one thousand drawings, mostly in charcoal. When he worked with charcoal, he often blackened the entire paper surface with charcoal and then erased portions with the top of a rolled piece of chamois.”

For many years the artist maintained a studio in the Michigan Trust building in Grand Rapids. He was also president of the Grand Rapids Art Club for a time, the first art association in Western Michigan.

According to his obituary Fisher died of old age – he was eighty-four – at the residence of his daughter on March 7, 1916.


Early Michigan Paintings, Michigan State University exhibition, 1976; Grand Rapids City Directories, 1884-1914

Obituary, Grand Rapids Press, March 8, 1916

Gibson, Arthur Hopkin, Artists of Early Michigan, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975

Submitted by Edward P. Bentley, Art Historian, East Lansing, Michigan Estimated shipping weight, (packaged) is 8 lbs 8 oz in a 30 x 24 x 5 box. The Calculator is not always right - if the shipping looks too high email us and we will give you an accurate quote prior to the sale ending. ************ What a great find!

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Estate sales, Inc.


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C 1890's Joseph Gurner Fisher Charcoal Drawing Sailboat Grand River Marne Mi Yqz:

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