Watercolor painting of a twisting dirt path beside the Aqueduct of Los Remedios in Naucalpan in the Mexican state of Juárez. The viewpoint looks up at one of the distinctive spiraling towers that stand at either end, nicknamed by the locals “the snails.” A small group of Mexican peasants, laden with bundles, approaches with two donkeys. These structures were originally built in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the area is now considered a historic preservation site by the government of Mexico.
The Aqueduct of Los Remedios was originally planned to supply water to a nearby hermitage and pilgrimage site, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Our Lady of the Remedies). Construction began in 1620, with the idea that the 23-meter-high (74 feet) towers at either end would function to regulate the pressure and eliminate air in the pipe, thereby conveying the water uphill from its source. When this failed, the project was abandoned for over 100 years, until the technological problem was solved, and the aqueduct was constructed in 1765.
Henry Ernest Schnakenberg was a painter as well as a writer contributing articles and criticism to The Arts magazine. He was inspired to become an artist when he visited the 1913 Armory Show, the exhibition that introduced European Modernism to the American public. He studied with Kenneth Hayes Miller and John Sloan at the Art Students League. His work was influenced by the style of urban realism practiced by Sloan and others known as the Ash Can School. Although he did paint urban scenes that implicitly comment on social alienation, he was not so much a message-oriented painter as one interested in capturing the form and texture of the world around him. As one writer put it, Schankenberg could “build a completely satisfying composition out of something no more grandiose than a weatherbeaten fencepost covered with scarlet ivy.” During his lifetime he won many awards and exhibited in museums across the U.S., including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Wadsworth Athanaeum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Schankenberg taught at the Art Students League for two years and in 1932 became its president. He was also a member of the Society of American Painters, Sculptors and Gravers; the Society of Independent Artists and the National Institute of Arts and Letters.
Condition: Generally very good with only minor overall toning and wear. Edges slightly irregular, probably as issued.
“Estada di México: Edificaciones Religiosas.” Viaja por Mexico. http://www.viajapormexico.com/Z_Centro/EdoMex/Atractivos/A3.htm (23 August 2005).
Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art. Madison, Connecticut: Sound View Press, 1985. p. 549.
“Henry Schnakenberg.” Mattatuck Historical Society. 1999. http://mattatuckmuseum.org/collections/art/schnak.htm (23 August 2005).
Buenrostro, Marco. “Los Remedios Acueducto.” Tradición e Cultura. November 2002. http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/nov02/021127/tradicion.html (23 August 2005).