John Hermann Carmiencke : Cedar Swamps, Cape May County, New Jersey
John Hermann Carmiencke (Cedar Swamps, Cape May County, New Jersey)

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Artist: John Hermann Carmiencke
Title: Cedar Swamps, Cape May County, New Jersey
Media: Oil on canvas, 31 1/4 × 46 1/4 inches
Description: Signed at lower right: “H. Carmiencke N.Y.”
Inscribed on stretcher verso: (bottom center) “Cedar Swamps. Cape May Co/N.J.”; (bottom left) “Bailey 1861”

Carmiencke was active in Cape May during the late 1850s and early ’60s. This view of the cedar swamps at Cape May is a far cry from the spectacular mountain vistas for which he was noted. At that time the swampy area around Dennisville was noted for an unusual industry called cedar mining. Huge cedar trees that either died and fell or were blown down by violent storms sank deep into the swamps and were “found buried at various depths in the black peaty earth, mainly decomposed vegetable matter. The submerged logs were quite sound, the color of the wood was preserved and its buoyancy retained.”2 Some of the logs were estimated to be over a thousand years old. Shingles made from these logs were in high demand among builders in South Jersey and Philadelphia, where the roof of Independence Hall was re-shingled with cedar mined from Cape May County. The industry gradually died out by the 1890s, when builders favored fireproof materials. Another version of this painting, dated 1859, is in a private collection, 1 and the artist is documented as having exhibited an On the Beach of Cape May (location unknown) at the Brooklyn Art Association in 1863.2


1. The painting is illustrated in Artists of 19 th Century Philadelphia, Philadelphia Collection, vol. V (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1978), no. 4, where its subject is misidentified as a “Long Island Landscape.”

2. Clark S. Marlor, A History of the Brooklyn Art Association with an Index of Exhibitions (New York: James F. Carr, 1970), p. 143.

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Price: Price upon request
Inventory: RS 634
Category: •a:American•a:New York•forest•landscape•New Jersey•nineteenth century•river•
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