Coven 100. Artist’s proof (see below for edition information). Signed and dated in pencil lower right ‘Ernest Fiene 65’; inscribed lower left in pencil ‘Artists proof, Deep Winter’. A fine impression in fine condition with full margins. The lithograph was made after Fiene’s painting, ‘Connecticut River Farm, Winter’ (n.d.).
One of ‘The Paris Lithographs of 1965’: a group of eight editions of prints printed by Fiene at Atelier Desjobert before his death in Paris, Aug. 10, 1965. Jeffrey Coven, the author of the online catalogue raisonne, catrais.org, of Fiene’s graphic work writes:
‘Fiene’s Final Work?: When Ernest Fiene died in August, 1965, he was making color lithographs at Atelier Desjobert in Paris. Seven of the eight editions he made there are signed, dated, titled and otherwise annotated in Fiene’s conventional manner. Only the edition of Deep Winter, with the exception of several artist proofs, remains unannotated. At least no numbered impression has been observed. (See ‘Edition’ below.) Speculation leads to the possible conclusions that Deep Winter was not only the last print Fiene made during his lifetime but his final work of art, and that Fiene died after he annotated several artist proofs but before he could annotate (sign, date, etc.) the edition itself. Clinton Adams recounts that Adolf Dehn ‘was forced to face the sudden death of his longtime friend, Ernest Fiene, who was struck down by a heart attack while both artists were working at Desjobert’s. (Adams, Dehn 40) Whether Fiene suffered his heart attack literally while working at the atelier (He died in a Paris hospital.) is not known, but that it was a sudden occurrence is clear.
After his death, all eight of the editions were shipped back to the executors of the artist’s estate in New York. Most of the impressions of the two editions of Winter Sun, the two editions of Repose, and the two editions of The Wreck, remain in the estate of the artist. The edition and proofs of Evening Fifth Avenue have been sold on the market. Only the whereabouts of the edition of Deep Winter remains unknown.
There is a hint that the edition wound its way to Associated American Artists in New York. Gail Windisch, author of a forthcoming catalogue raisonné of prints published by Associated American Artists (AAA), notes that one of the lists of prints published by AAA provided to her by the late Sylvan Cole, longtime director of the gallery, was a list ‘of the large and small format, color prints [and that Fiene’s] color Deep Winter print is included on this list. It is described as a color lithograph, 14 x 20-3/4.’ Furthermore, she notes, there is a partially legible notation next to the entry for Deep Winter that appears to read ‘unsigned ed.’ (unpublished email, Nov. 2005). Only one unsigned impression of Deep Winter has been observed by us.
Although there is no hard evidence that Deep Winter is Fiene’s last work, there is no doubt that among his very last works were the color lithographs he was making in Paris when his fatal heart attack struck. The above rationale along with the somber mood of the print, not to mention the title, have led us to place it as the last work in this catalogue raisonné.’
(Source: Coven, Jeffrey, ‘American Printmakers On-line Catalogue Raisonné Project’. The Prints of Ernest Fiene: A Catalogue Raisonné’. www.catrais.org/FieneCatalogue)