Traditional methods are no longer sufficient for his communion with the English countryside. He begins by giving up the outdoor painting. He then invents the suitable process when he transfers his detailed sketches on a large canvas, generating the full scale sketch that he tirelessly reworks until he finds the balance of composition and the animation for the final work.
His interpretation of the Stour River in a distance range not exceeding five kilometers results in a set of six paintings from 1819 to 1825 which are the masterpieces of Constable and more generally of any landscape painting.
The six-foot sketches of these six paintings have been preserved. Constable refused to sell his sketches, considering that we must sell the corn and not the field that grew it. They were dispersed in his deceased estate sale but it was not until 1862 that their importance could be analyzed when two sketches were finally exhibited beside their matching final artwork.
Seen by a modern observer, the comparison is stunning. The sketch is the direct result of the creativity of the painter in a thick impasto that provides a pre-Impressionist expressiveness. The application of the brush is free and vibrant without the conventional restraint that will be applied to the final work. By design, the numerous remorses directly reflect the creative process of the artist.
On June 30 in London, Christie's sells at lot 12 the six-foot sketch for the fourth painting in the series, the View on the Stour near Dedham, which is the only full scale sketch of the Stour series still in private hands. This oil on canvas 129 x 185 cm was worked between autumn 1821 and the exhibition of the final work in 1822 at the Royal Academy. The press release of May 26 reveals an estimate around £ 12M to 16M.
SOLD for £ 14M including premium