In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Stephen Scott Young, “Shadow Games.”
Widely considered a living master in the American realist tradition, painter Stephen Scott Young has established a successful artistic career by exploring themes of family, coming of age, and everyday life in his watercolor paintings and etchings.  Born in Hawaii in 1957, Young established a love for art flipping through picture books of traditional masters such as Johannes Vermeer, Michelangelo Caravaggio, and Rembrandt van Rijn, artists who have undoubtedly exercised considerable influence on his preference for naturalism and attention to detail.  His first academic exposure in the arts came during his tenure at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.  Around 1985, shortly after Young won first prize in a national art competition held by American Artist Magazine, the artist travelled to the Bahamas, where he began painting and etching genre scenes of quotidian life.  The eloquent simplicity of life on the islands entranced Young, which has continued to draw his artistic attention ever since.  In addition to the Bahamas, Young has turned his eyes towards similar subjects along the Eastern Coast of the United States, detailing everyday life in Vermount, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.    
A quintessential example of both Young’s mastery of watercolor and his profound love for Bahamian subjects is “Shadow Games,” a gorgeous painting of 1995.  Immediately noticeable is the rhythmic dance of the white-picket fence that forms a major part of the composition, its play of light and shadow cast on the sidewalk below.  Contrasting sharply are the dark bodies of two Bahamian boys, themselves accented with vividly saturated blue and yellow shorts.  Basking in the unyielding glow of a midday sun, one youth stands, leisurely stretching and resting his arms along the fence.  A second youth to the left kneels and intently concentrates on the game by his feet, unaware of the audience gaze beyond the picture plane.  Beyond the fence we find an unpopulated field followed by beautiful white homes along a beach – their location indicated by hints of brilliant blue waters in the distance.  Like so many traditional realists, there is a timelessness and nostalgic appeal to this – and indeed all – of Young’s pictures, an element that has continually drawn collectors to his work. 
“Shadow Games” could be the next piece hanging in your collection as the work features in a September 26 sale at Cottone Auctions in Geneseo, New York, day 2 of a “Fine Art & Antique Auction.”  Residing currently in a private collection and in outstanding condition, the piece has auction estimates of between $80,000 and $120,000.     
To view the full catalogue, visit Cottone Auctions.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

Previous articleMore than an Idol
Next articleBones with Flesh
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here