The strong skyline of "The Sleeping Lady", Mount Susitna at the edge of the Alaska Range and an amazing purple-hued summer atmosphere serve as the backdrop in this view of the Emard Salmon Cannery on the bank of Ship Creek, Anchorage. This early building was among the town’s first, chartered in 1915. Laurence made his semi-permanent residence in the Anchorage Hotel, built in 1916 in what is now downtown Anchorage, on the creek’s southern bank.
With his accomplished eye for aesthetic beauty, Laurence presents a tranquil view of what was the economic backbone to the Pacific Northwest throughout the early 20th century. The salmon cannery industry provided the last purpose for many wooded and steel sailing ships. The various San Francisco and Puget Sound firms operating in the trade unified in 1909 under the banner of the Alaskan Packers Association. Their “Star” ships would haul canning supplies and men to the north and return months later with the tin-packed fish. Their operations, including the Emard Cannery, ran for more than twenty years.
Believed to be an early Alaskan works by the artist, the stylistic influences of both the French impressionists and his American instructor, Edward Moran, are noticeable. The pigment application and broad vista portrayed speak of his French education, while the intriguing use of color and radiant light emulate the best qualities of Moran. The long hours of northern daylight offered Laurence extra hours to paint his works, or explore and sketch the scenes he would later paint in his Los Angeles studio.
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