Gladys Wattswell

Gladys Wattswell (American) 1920 – ?
Bridge over Untroubled Waters, pastel, signed, 12″ x 18″ framed.

Bridge over Untroubled Waters, pastel, signed.
Click to enlarge.
Bridge over Untroubled Waters, pastel, signed, framed.

Estimated: $350. Offers invited.

Please email an offer to purchase or a request for more information to

This mid-20th century painting is in excellent condition and has never been removed from the frame, which bears a few scrapes but can be rehabilitated (it’s a good quality frame). Photographed under glass, the image has been adversely affected by light reflections and is a bit fuzzy. The image makes it appear to be almost impressionistic. It’s actually a traditional realistic painting.

The artist of this painting was said by the previous owner to be Gladys Wallswell, and does list an American painter with that name, born 1920. My research has not revealed any work by an artist of that name nor have I found a person by that name in the archives. Another pastel signed Nelson with a date that appears to be ’50 has been seen, however. That painting was listed for sale as a work by Gladys Nelson Smith, a highly regarded American artist born in Kansas in 1890. There is no comparison to be made between the exhibited work of Gladys Nelson Smith and the two pastels cited here. There is much to suggest that the two pastels were by the same hand, however, even the similarity of the frames!

Many successful artists painted for both the academic and commercial art markets, often selling art that was signed with a pseudonym through furniture stores and other retail outlets. The biography of Gladys Nelson Smith includes a statement that “She was successful in selling her paintings in both Kansas and Chicago and in 1921 began a more than twenty-year association with the What-Not Shop, an art gallery in Topeka, Kansas.” There is also the statement that she became disenchanted with the modern art movement leaving her “feeling isolated, and she consequently withdrew from professional circles.” It’s a stretch to suggest that Gladys Nelson Smith painted this pastel, but it’s not impossible! This vintage pastel is typical of the era during which it was painted, with excellent color and composition, executed by a trained artist. It is priced accordingly. The painting has never been removed from the frame so it’s anyone’s guess what might be written on the back of this pastel.

A Gladys Nelson Smith Landscape:

Cornstalks – Oil on canvas
Image Credit – The Johnson Collection


Images often do not adequately represent quality or condition. Reflections off glass or varnished surfaces sometimes alter color and clarity. All listings are fully guaranteed to be as described, however, and may be returned for a full refund (for any reason) within 30 days of purchase.

Purchase prices are inclusive of shipping/handling/insurance within the continental United States. Prospective buyers should email for shipment to other locations.

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