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Gasser's Winter Steam, ca. 1946
Henry Martin Gasser
Water Color on Paper,
SIZE: ca. 10 x 14
(Call 646-239-6142)
Gasser's Black Backyard Newark brought
Comparative Gasser watercolor emphasizes
his focus on the drama of urban decay.
Another of Gasser's watercolors showing
structures piled on structures technique.
Newly Framed  with Silver Edge Mat and under Glass
Gasser, 1960
CURATOR'S COMMENT: Gasser prices have been on a tear since the 2017 major exhibit sponsored
by Louis Salerno's QuestRoyal Gallery on New York's Park Avenue. The accompanying catalogue, "Henry
Martin Gasser: Bound for Prosperity" cemented Gasser's place among American masters. We attended
and took note of the excitement, which has driven subsequent buyer demand and record prices. But
our interest in Gasser goes as far back as our acquisition of a John Grabach masterpiece (see
elsewhere in our overall listing) because Grabach, also a New Jersey painter, was the predominant
teacher and friend of Gasser, and they often worked together. Additionally, Gary Erbe's masterful study
of Gasser's work, entitled, "Beyond City Limits" peaked our interest as far back as 2003, and we
attended the accompanying Salmagundi exhibition where we saw little-known works by Gasser that
exposed his painter's power.   
A master at watercolor and oil his work consisted of, in his own words, "everyday subjects that are
available to most of us-street scenes, back yards, trees, old houses, etc. I looked for them in front of
houses, in backyards, public parks, and elsewhere". He also painted numerous harbor and fishing
village scenes. As QuestRoyal put it, "His work demonstrated a sense of place and feeling that most
could identify with. He often "exhausted a subject" which becomes evident when viewing the body of
his work for many of his paintings are just slight variations of previously completed compositions." We
see a more important theme in Gasser's work, what he called "solitary silence" created by a focus on
backyard's (a Grabach favorite) tenements, collapsing structures, and junk-heap vehicles. The sense of
entropy is very strong, and goes deeper than the urban decay. There is often the small black figure, we
call the "lurker," who is bent under the grotesque landscape that he struggles in against darkness and
stormy weather. This is certainly an image of the artist recording details for his paintings.
Gasser was born in Newark, New Jersey on Oct. 31,1909. He lived, studied and worked in New Jersey
for his entire life.He got his background in art studying at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art
and the Grand Central School of Art. This was followed by study at the Art Students League of New York
in the classes of Robert Brackman, but he went on to study privately under John R. Grabach and
maintained a very close relationship with the older painter throughout his career.. He is represented in
over fifty museum collections and numerous important private ones as well. Among the awards that
Henry Gasser has received are the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy, the Zabriskie, Osborne,
and Obrig prizes at the American Watercolor Society, the Philadelphia watercolor club prize, the Allied
Artists Gold Medal at Oakland, California and many others. He was a life member of the National Arts
Club, and  served as Director of the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art from 1946-54 then
continued lecturing, writing and demonstrating for most of the remainder of his life. During World War
II, Gasser was stationed in South Carolina as a sergeant in a Visual Aid Unit of the army. We think Winter
Stream  remembers the end of the War. Recognition has placed his work in more than sixty museums
and college collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art
Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
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