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Two Rare, Very Early Central Park Views
FASEL, G. W. (artist)/ FASEL & VALOIS, Edward (lithographers) [New York, 1862]
1. View of the Cave Facing the Lake, No. VIII 2.Source of the Spring in the Rample, No. XI .
Hand-colored lithographs, each 9 1/4 x 13 3/4 inches. Lightly toned, else excellent condition with attractive, early color. In gold frames with French mats.
Two delicately colored views, "drawn from nature," that capture areas of Central Park at a rarely seen, early stage of its creation. In 1862 when they appeared in the very rare Central Park Album, the Park had been open for four years, but was still several years away from being fully landscaped and completed, in 1873. The 38-acre Ramble, however, was the first part of the Park to completed, and these the two prints depict areas in the Ramble--the "Cave" facing Central Park Lake and the source of the "Spring" for the stream known as the Gill. Flora and rock formations are delicately detailed, and there is also and a rococo-revival, rustic, branch bench. The Ramble was landscaped and planted to resemble an Adirondack forest, and that aspect of it is evoked by these two views. Source of the Spring shows one of the winding paths alongside the stream known as the Gill, running through the Ramble. The actual source of the Gill was artificial, part of the manmade artifice of the Ramble. Today, the Gill emanates from a pipe fed by the city reservoir, high in a rocky outcropping in the center of the Park between 76th and 77th Streets.
Georg (or George) Wilhelm Fasel was a painter and lithographer who began his career in Karlsruhe, Germany, before emigrating to the United States. He is best known for portraits, and historical and religious subjects. From at least 1850 to 1865 he lived in New York City, where he is known to have exhibited religious paintings at the American Art-Union.
A complete copy of Central Park Album 1862, uncolored, is in the collection of the New York Public Library (see References below). One print from the album is also in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Apparently, both the complete album as well as individual prints from it are rare.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire, Vol. 3, p. 677; Groce & Wallace, The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860, p. 221.