Ernest Cornelius Edward Cramer

E. C. Cramer (1977-1953) - Plein Air Landscape circa 1920s P3079

Regular price $1,200.00

This is a tiny masterpiece. A really brilliant work. Oil on Board.

Measures 6 1/2" x 9", frame is 10" x 12 1/2". The tag on the back misreads his signature as E. O. Cramer, but it is E.C.

ERNEST CORNELIUS EDWARD CRAMER (June 28, 1877 – July 15, 1953)
AKA “C. Ernest Cramer,” “Ernest C. Cramer,” “Ernest E. Cramer”

Painter in oil and watercolor.  Born in Saalfeld, Thuringia, Germany, the son of Ottilie Lindemann and William Cramer.  While it is reported incorrectly in some places, Cramer was in fact a real person, and not just a pseudonym used by the Sag Harbor, Long Island artist, Hjalmar “Cappy” Amundsen (1911 – 2001).

Ernest Cramer studied painting at the Royal Academy of Art in Dresden.  He eventually traveled to Great Britain and lived there for fourteen years prior to coming to America.  While there he fell in love with and became known as a “…devotee of the English school of water color painting.”  Like so many artists, Cramer worked for a living as a way to support both his family (wife Helen and son Roland) and his painting habit before turning to work as an artist full-time.

The family arrived in the United States from the French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer aboard the steamer Rijndam in September of 1913, though Cramer himself had first arrived in March to prepare for their arrival.  After coming to America, the family settled in Douglaston Manor in Queens, Long Island, New York.  There, the Cramer’s hired architect Audrey Butler Grantham (1866 – 1945) to design them a fine house on Hillside Avenue which was featured in 1928 in the magazine, The Architectural Record.  During the Great Depression they sold (or lost) the house and moved first to nearby Great Neck and then to Roslyn, Nassau County, Long Island, New York.  

In Roslyn Cramer established his studio along East Broadway facing the Roslyn Mill Pond.  He became known for his paintings depicting the village of Roslyn, but also traveled elsewhere on Long Island, recording its scenic vistas in watercolor and oil.  While he was known primarily for his views of Long Island, he also depicted scenes of New England and the American west, including Grand Teton National Park, probably indicating travel to those locations.  He also taught out of his studio in Roslyn and one of his students was the Long Island painter, Hazelle Lyons (1897 – 1979).

During the 1930s and 40s when work became scarce, Cramer worked for the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) and the Federal Works Agency working on a variety of illustrative and military related projects.  In one case he created a painting of the U.S.S. Saratoga which was installed at the Saratoga National Historic Park during World War II.  During the war his son Roland Hans Cramer (1910-1961) became a well-respected destroyer escort commander.

In 1947 a series of his Long Island paintings were featured in a solo exhibition at the Esquire Theater in Chicago where the Chicago Tribune provided a ringing endorsement of his work, noting: “His painting has much of the sunshine and pleasant character of Thieme’s work, and a fluency of brush and flair for colors that turns each canvas into a real delight.  For a picturesque, diversified, colorful show we heartily recommend the current Cramer exhibition.”

Ernest Cramer died on Wednesday, the 15th of July 1953 in Roslyn, Nassau County, Long Island, New York, at the age of seventy-six.  It is not clear from where his funeral services were held or where he was buried.

During the summer of 1956 a memorial exhibition of his Long Island watercolors was held at the Suffolk Museum (presently The Long Island Museum of Art, History, and Carriages).  Local papers noted that Cramer had works in many public and private collections including those of “…the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Pierre Cartier, the late Christopher Morley, and John Eden.

Though there are undoubtedly other exhibitions in which Cramer participated, those presently known include the following:  Little Gallery at the Esquire Theater, Chicago, IL, 1947 (solo); Roslyn Art Festival, Roslyn, NY, 1949; Art League of Nassau County, Nassau County, NY (possibly).

Cramer’s works are known to be in the following public institutions at present:  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ.  The majority of his works reside in private collections throughout the United States.


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