1859 - 1935
Self Portrait: 1914
(Frederick Childe Hassam)
Frederick Childe Hassam was a prominent and prolific American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes. Along with Mary Cassatt and John Henry Twachtman, Hassam was instrumental in promulgating Impressionism to American collectors, dealers, and the museums. He produced over 3,000 paintings, watercolors, etchings, and lithographs in his career, and was a founding member of 'The Ten', an influential group of American artists of the early 20th century. His most famous works are the "Flag" paintings, completed during World War I.
Ten American Painters
(The Ten): 1908
Hassam who was known to all as Childe was born in his family home in a suburb of Boston in 1859. His father Frederick was a cutlery merchant and descended from a long line of New Englanders, while his mother Rosa was a native of Maine. He demonstrated an interest in art early in his life. He had his first lessons in drawing and watercolor while attending the Mather public school, but his parents took little notice of his nascent talent.
A disastrous fire in November 1872 wiped out much of Boston's commercial district including his father's business. To help out the family, Hassam dropped out of high school and his father lined up a job for him in the accounting department of publisher Little Brown and Company. His poor aptitude for figures, however, convinced his father to allow him to pursue an art career, and Hassam found employment with George Johnson, a wood engraver. He quickly proved an adept draftsman in the Boston and he produced designs for commercial engravings, such as images for letterheads and newspapers. Around 1879, Hassam began creating his earliest oil paintings but his preferred medium was watercolors, mostly outdoor studies.
In 1882, Hassam became a free-lance illustrator, (known as a "black-and-white man" in the trade), and established his first studio. He specialized in illustrating children's stories for magazines such as Harper's Weekly, Scribner's Monthly Magazine, and The Century. He continued to develop his technique while attended drawing classes at the Lowell Institute, a division of MIT, and at the Boston Art Club, where he took life painting classes.
By 1882, Hassam was exhibiting publicly and had his first solo exhibition, of watercolors, at the Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston. The following year, his friend Celia Thaxter convinced him to drop his first name and thereafter he was known simply as "Childe Hassam". He also began to add a crescent symbol in front of his signature, whose meaning is not known.
Wayside Inn-Sudbury, Massachusetts: 1882
Country Road (Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts), 1882
This charming watercolor epitomizes Hassam's early efforts in the medium. Whether or not this view portrays the vicinity of the Wayside Inn, as some records claim, the artist seems to have been most interested in capturing atmospheric effects and light casting shadows and filtering through leaves of the trees.
White Barn: 1882
Having had relatively little formal art training, Hassam was advised by his friend (and fellow Boston Art Club member) Edmund H. Garrett to take a "study trip" with him to Europe during the summer of 1883. Hassam and Garrett traveled throughout Great Britain, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, studying the old masters together and creating watercolors of the European countryside. He was particularly impressed with the watercolors of J. M. W. Turner. Sixty-seven of the watercolors Hassam did on his trip formed the basis of his second exhibition in 1884. Hassam married Kathleen Doan after his return.
A Street in Denia, Spain: 1883
Canal Scene: 1883
Church Procession, Spanish Steps: ca 1883
Feeding Pigeons in the Piazza: ca 1883
French Peasant Girl: ca 1883
Although this canvas was inspired by Hassam's travels, the broad application of pigment suggests that it was made after his return to Boston. The picture is one of his first of what would be a favorite theme: women outdoors. It also proclaims his adoption of French Barbizon painters' naturalistic aesthetic in its subject, peasant labor, which was identified with Jean-François Millet. Barbizon art was popularized in Boston by Millet's pupil William Morris Hunt.
(aka Summer Palace of the Caliphs - Granada, Spain): ca 1883
Gate of the Alhambra: ca 1883
Girl in a Doorway: 1883
View of Florence from San Miniato: Date Unknown
After returning to Boston, Hassam resumed his studio illustration and in good weather produced landscapes out-of-doors. He also joined the "Paint and Clay Club", expanding his contacts in the art community, which included prominent critics and "the readiest and smartest of our younger generation of artists, illustrators, sculptors, and decorators-the nearest thing to Bohemia that Boston can boast." Friends found him to be energetic, robust, outgoing, and unassuming, capable of self-mockery and considerate acts, but he could be argumentative and wickedly witty against the art community who opposed him. Hassam was particularly influenced by the circle of William Morris Hunt, who like the great French landscapist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, emphasized the Barbizon School of working directly from nature. He absorbed their credo that "Atmosphere and light are the great things to work for in landscape painting". In 1885, a noted critic stated, in part responding to Hassam's early oil painting 'A Back Road' (1884), "the Boston taste for landscape painting, founded on this sound French school, is the one vital, positive, productive, and distinctive tendency among our artists today...the truth is poetry enough for these radicals of the new school. It is a healthy, manly muscular kind of art."
A Back Road: 1884
John Updike, the author, in a lengthy review of the exhibition in July 15, 2004 edition of The New York Review of Books, wrote that "His youthful, under-tutored eye saw things that a more experienced painter might have skimmed past," adding that "A Back Road (1884), with its watery ruts, grassy mane, and battered irregularity, makes most such byways in Impressionist paintings look like the Yellow Brick Road."
From: Art/Museums: Childe Hassam: American Impressionist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Old Fairbanks House-Dedham, Massachusetts: ca 1884
Hassam revealed his fully evolved version of Barbizon naturalism in pastoral views. This one depicts the oldest wooden-frame house in North America, then still occupied by the family that built it in 1636. The woman carrying a bucket up-a New England counterpart of the noble peasants of Barbizon-suggests the ongoing use of the house. The scene reflects the continuing American enthusiasm for rural subjects of the sort that Winslow Homer and Eastman Johnson had portrayed during the 1870's.
Village Scene: 1883-85
This painting has often been associated with Hassam's first European sojourn, though its picturesque locale is unidentified. As he often did, Hassam explored the theme of rural architecture and landscape. He captured nature both wild and cultivated, contrasting the lush, long grasses and flowers of the verdant foreground with the manicured pasture beyond. A puff of smoke rising from a distant chimney emphasizes the bucolic mood.
The Public Garden
(Boston Common): ca 1885
This monumental watercolor depicts one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States, which was then being incorporated into Boston's public park system. The garden included hothouse plants that were continually rotated, a detail that Hassam perhaps suggested by including empty and overturned clay pots in the center foreground. Presumably, the contents of these pots had recently been transplanted to the nearby flowerbeds.
By the mid-1880's, Hassam began painting cityscapes in nearby locales, his 'Boston Common at Twilight' (1885) being one of his first. He joined a few other progressive American artists who were taking to heart the advice of French academic master Jean-Léon Gérôme, who had a conversion from his traditional subject matter and told his American peers, "Look around you and paint what you see. Forget the Beaux-Arts and the models and render the intense life which surrounds you and be assured that the Brooklyn Bridge is worth the Coliseum of Rome and that modern America is as fine as the bric-a-brac of antiquity." However, one Boston critics firmly rejected his urban choice of subject as "very pleasant, but not art." Although he had shown steady improvement in his oil painting, before letting go of illustration Hassam decided to return to Paris with his wife. Throughout their life together, she ran the household, arranged travel, and attended to other domestic tasks, but little is known about their private life. Hassam's success with illustration was sufficient to allow the couple to find a well-located apartment/studio with a maid near the Place Pigalle, the center of the Parisian art community. With the exception of fellow American artist Frank Boggs, the couple lived among the French and socialized little with other American artists studying abroad.
Boston Common at Twilight: 1885-86
In this engaging canvas Hassam describes the fading afternoon light at the edge of the snow-covered park near his studio on Tremont Street, which appears at the left. As he often did, Hassam enlisted suggestive atmospheric effects to mute the harshness of the modern city and portrayed elegant urbanites enjoying their surroundings. Likely influences were conservative painters Jean Béraud and Johan Barthold Jongkind, whose portrayals of modern life were reproduced in journals. Works by the French Impressionists were also on display in exhibitions in Boston and New York that Hassam could have visited.
Hassam took classes in figure drawing and painting at the Académie Julian. Although he took advantage of the formal drawing classes with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre, he quickly moved on to his own self-study, finding that "The Julian academy is the personification of routine...[academic training] crushes all originality out of growing men. It tends to put them in a rut and it keeps them in it", preferring instead, "my own method in the same degree." His first Parisian works were street scenes, employing a mostly brown palette, and he sent these works back to Boston for sale, which combined with older watercolors provided the couple with sufficient income to sustain their stay abroad.
In the autumn of 1887, Hassam painted two versions of Grand Prix Day, employing a breakthrough change of palette. Suddenly, he was laying softer, more diffuse colors to canvas, similar to the French Impressionists, creating scenes full of light, done with freer brush strokes. It is likely that he was inspired from French Impressionist paintings he had viewed in museums and exhibitions, though he did not meet any of these artists.
Grand Prix Day
(aka Le Jour de Grand Prix): 1887
Hassam depicted the stylish noonday promenade of elaborate equipages near the Arc de Triomphe on the first Sunday in June, before their procession to the Bois de Boulogne for the great international horse race. Brilliant sunlight bathes the spectacle of two lines of carriages filled with well-dressed ladies and gentlemen. Spectators crowd the sidewalks, which are shaded by sun-dappled horse-chestnut trees. Hassam made a second, larger version of the scene (1887-88; New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut) for submission to the 1888 Paris Salon.
Grand Prix Day
(aka Le Jour de Grand Prix): 1887-88
The sudden shift expanded his options and his range. Through the 1890's, his technique veered increasingly toward Impressionism in both oil and watercolor, even as the movement itself was giving way to Post-Impressionism and Fauvism. During his European stay, he continued to favor street and horse scenes, avoiding some of the other favorite depictions of the Impressionists, such as opera, cabaret, theater, and boating. He also painted garden and "flower girl" scenes, some featuring his wife, including 'Geraniums' (1888) which he presented at the Salon exhibition that year. He managed to exhibit at all three Salon shows during his Paris stay but won no medals.
In the garden at Villiers-le-Bel, pots of brilliant geraniums are set on a deep window ledge and on two steps before a sunlit wall. Two large watering cans manifest Hassam's gift for placing and painting still-life objects. At the left, Mrs. Hassam is sewing, seemingly "in bloom" like the blossoms that encircle her head.
Flower Girl: 1888
Flower sellers, whose wares permitted Hassam to add brilliant color accents to otherwise grayish urban scenes, appear in many of his Paris paintings. Here, a young vendor selects a bouquet from her immense basket of blooms. A well-dressed woman emerging from the left, a chef, and, at the right, a handsome man wearing a top hat and carrying a cane suggest a range of urban types.
Woman Cutting Roses in a Garden: 1888-89
Woman Sellillng Flowers: 1888-89
The Rose Garden: 1888
The Rose Girl: ca 1888
A critic for the New York Times noted in 1890: "The Rose Girl is a composition in the manner of James Tissot, the flower girl and her masses of flowers, the yellow cab and passers-by being painted with a solid insistence not generally found in Mr. Hassam's other works." Hassam quoted the golden doors of the passing coach in flower-filled gilded side panels. The triptych format implies that a modern secular subject is as worthy as a religious scene.
Gathering Flowers in a French Garden: ca 1888
Flower Girl by the Seine, Paris: 1889
Flower Garden: 1893
From the beginning of his career, Hassam had worked in watercolor, at first using a highly detailed style for book and magazine illustrations. By the 1890's he had developed a more fluid technique. In this captivating sheet, a gentle wave of delicate strokes invites the viewer into a sunlit garden filled with drifts of animated poppies and bordered by processions of lilies and stately hollyhocks.
The work he sent home was attracting attention too, as one reviewer commented, "It is refreshing to note that Mr. Hassam, in the midst of so many good, bad, and indifferent art currents, seems to be paddling his own canoe with a good deal of independence and method. When his Boston pictures of three years ago...are compared with the more recent work...it may be seen how he has progressed." Hassam contributed four paintings to the Exposition Universale of 1889 in Paris, winning a bronze medal. At that time, he remarked on the emergence of progressive American artists who studied abroad but who did not succumb to French traditions:
"The American Section...has convinced me forever of the capability of Americans to claim a school. Inness, Whistler, Sargent and plenty of Americans just as well able to cope in their own chosen line with anything done over here...An artist should paint his own time and treat nature as he feels it, not repeat the same stupidities of his predecessors...The men who have made success today are the men who have got out of the rut."
A City Fairyland: 1886
In the last great street scene from Hassam's early years in Boston, he portrayed a triangular intersection, probably in the newly expanded South End, and accentuated the breadth of this modern urban space by showing the tracks of carriages and trolleys in the fresh snow. Hassam was not, however, seeking topographical exactitude; he preferred to suggest how falling snow and muted light could transform the city into an ethereal fairyland.
After Breakfast: 1887
Each summer from 1887 through 1889, Hassam and his wife visited friends in Villiers-le-Bel, ten miles northeast of Paris. There, Hassam painted views of a typical French terraced garden, with raised beds and sanded pathways. In this large canvas, he focused on a slender maid watering a potted oleander while a young woman reads the morning paper. By showing the two women in similar postures, Hassam seems to suggest their kinship in grace despite their disparities in wealth.
Columbus Avenue, Boston: ca 1886
Columbus Avenue Rainy Day: 1885
Rainy Day, Boston: 1885
'Rainy Day, Columbus Avenue, Boston' in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Ohio is an oil on canvas that was executed in 1885. In his review. Mr. Updike correctly noted that it "is a shimmering atmospheric study, gray and a muted brick-red, of a wide city space in the rain which compares favorably, for a plausibility of tone and perspective, with Gustave Caillebotte's iconic Paris Street: Rainy Day, of a decade before.
From: Art/Museums: Childe Hassam: American Impressionist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Columbus Avenue Rainy Day: ca 1885
In Rainy Day, the earliest of Hassam's major Boston street scenes, the site is the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Appleton Street, near Hassam's apartment in the expanded South End. Broad avenues, inspired by the new boulevards of Baron Haussmann's Paris, were in marked contrast to the winding streets of old Boston. Hassam recalled in 1892: "The street was all paved in asphalt, and I used to think it very pretty when it was wet and shining, and caught the reflections of passing people and vehicles. I was always interested in the movements of humanity in the street."
(aka Corner of Berkeley Street and Columbus Avenue): 1890
During his first winter in New York, Hassam painted this Boston scene based on a sketch he had made in 1886 (Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). The drawing enabled him to begin work immediately rather than prowl New York's chilly streets in search of subjects. In the foreground appears a lively intersection in Boston's expanded South End; steam is seen rising from the railroad tracks that run beneath Berkeley Street. The view to the northwest highlights landmarks of Boston's Back Bay silhouetted against the twilit sky.
Charles River and Beacon Hill: ca 1890-92
Although Hassam based his activities in New York after 1889, he maintained ties to Boston. His vantage point in this Boston scene was the Charles River Esplanade; the view is east toward Beacon Hill. The golden State House dome in the distance, representing the past, contrasts with the new Back Bay buildings and the unfinished pavement in the foreground. Perfectly suited to expressing the Back Bay's modernity are Hassam's Impressionist devices: an asymmetrical composition in which space recedes sharply, radically cropped forms, and rapid paint application.
Marlborough Street, Boston
Mount Vernon Street, Boston: 1890
Provincetown Grocery Store: 1900
Quincy, Massachusetts: 1892
As for the French Impressionists, he wrote "Even Claude Monet, Sisley, Pissarro and the school of extreme Impressionists do some things that are charming and that will live." Later, he would be called an "extreme Impressionist" himself. His only "direct" contact with a French Impressionist artist was when Hassam took over Renoir's former studio and found some of the painter's oil sketches left behind, "I did not know anything about Renoir or care anything about Renoir. I looked at these experiments in pure color and saw it was what I was trying to do myself."
The Hassams returned to America and settled in New York City in 1889, the art capital of the U.S., to get nearer to important artists, dealers and collectors. He found a studio apartment at Fifth Avenue and Seventeenth, a view he painted in one of his first New York oils, 'Fifth Avenue in Winter'. The fashionable street was traveled at that time by horse-drawn carriages and trolleys. It was one of his favorite paintings and he exhibited it several times. It skillfully uses a distinctive dark palette of blacks and browns normally considered "forbidden colors" by strict Impressionists to create a winter urban panorama, that Le Figaro praised for its "American Character". But then for his 'Washington Arch in Spring' (1890) he demonstrates a bright pastel palette suffused with white similar to what Monet might have employed.
Lower Fifth Avenue: 1890
From the east side of New York's Fifth Avenue at about Thirteenth Street, Hassam looked southwest toward the First Presbyterian Church and the Church of the Ascension, silhouetted against an opalescent sky. The English Gothic Revival style of the churches and the old-fashioned gas lamp in the right foreground invoke tradition, while the roadway crowded with horse-drawn vehicles signals modern metropolitan bustle.
Fifth Avenue in Winter: 1901
Washington Arch, Spring: 1990-93
Washington Arch, Spring, 1890
A prolific artist and enthusiastic traveler, Hassam painted a variety of outdoor locations: picturesque coastal towns and cities such as New York, Boston, and Paris. Washington Arch, Spring is an example of one of Hassam's most celebrated and distinctive themes-the city. Like the French impressionists, Hassam enjoyed the challenge of capturing the bustling activity of the street as well as the charm of tree-lined avenues. Even in his early career, before embracing impressionism, he painted city scenes in which light and atmospheric effects played an important part. By the 1880's he was using a higher-keyed palette and looser brushwork to paint the spectacle of Paris boulevards. When he returned from Europe in 1889, he began making paintings and etchings of New York. Hassam saw New York as a place of comparable beauty and excitement to the French capital in the fashionable neighborhoods along Fifth Avenue and at Washington Square. In focusing on the more elegant side of New York life, Hassam equated the city physically to the picturesque capitals of Europe, while also, as Duncan Phillips explained, reflecting the city's "awakening cosmopolitanism…."
The arch, sited on Washington Square at the southern end of Fifth Avenue, made clear Hassam's reference to a similar monument, the Arc d'Triomphe in Paris. The New York arch, designed by Stanford White, commemorated the one-hundredth anniversary of George Washington's inauguration. Hassam's residence at was just north of the Square, so he was able to watch the progress of construction, first a temporary wood and plaster structure, finished in 1889, followed by a permanent marble arch completed in 1892.
Hassam chose a vantage point at street level. Partially blocked by trees; the arch could be seen in the near distance at the end of Fifth Avenue, shown at a diagonal that sweeps into the composition. Although he employed an asymmetrical design and a light palette, as favored by his French impressionist predecessors, Hassam, like most of his American counterparts, preferred not to sacrifice structure and solid form to the fragmenting effects of broken color. He still sought the momentary and fleeting, however, remarking on his interest in watching the bustle of people on the streets as they went about their daily life. Hassam included several pedestrians in Washington Arch, along with a street cleaner and a horse-drawn carriage. He remained a detached observer, however, focusing on the larger, overall view, and capturing a genteel, sunny, picturesque world.
He became close friends with fellow Impressionist artists J. Alden Weir and John Henry Twachtman, whom he met through the American Water Color Society, and over the following months he made many connections in the art community through other art societies and social clubs. In several exhibitions and shows, he contributed work he had painted in Europe. Hassam enthusiastically painted the genteel urban atmosphere of New York that he encountered within walking distance of his apartment, and avoided the squalor of the lower-class neighborhoods. He proclaimed that "New York is the most beautiful city in the world. There is no boulevard in all Paris that compares to our own Fifth Avenue...the average American still fails to appreciate the beauty of his own country". He captured well-dressed men in bowler hats and top hats, fashionable women and children out and about, and horse-drawn cabs slowly making their way along crowded thoroughfares lined by commercial buildings which were generally less than six stories high at that time. For Hassam, his primary focus would forever continue to be "humanity in motion". He never doubted his own artistic development and his subjects, remaining confident in his instinctual choices throughout his life.
Fifth Avenue in Winter: 1919
Street Scene with Hansom Cab: 1887
Street Scene, Christmas Morning: 1892
Fifth Avenue in Winter: ca 1890
Probably during his first winter in New York, Hassam painted this view from his studio at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventeenth Street. While the high vantage point suggests life in a tall modern building, the reassuringly regular brownstone stoops recall old New York and conceal the neighborhood's increasing commercialism. Visible in the center background are the distinctive red brick façade, arched windows, and framed performance notices of George B. Post's Chickering Hall, the two-thousand-seat auditorium at the northwest corner of Eighteenth Street. The canvas was one of the first that Hassam sold to a museum.
(aka Sunday on Fifth Avenue): 1890-91
Rainy Day on Fifth Avenue: ca 1893
Lady Walking down Fifth Avenue: 1902
Fifth Avenue in Winter: 1901
Flags, Fifth Avenue: 1918
Cab Stand at Night, Madison Square, New York: 1891
Cabdrivers awaiting fares fascinated Hassam, as he explained in 1892: "Their backs are quite as expressive as their faces. They live so much in their clothes, that they get to be like thick shells, and take on every angle and curve of their tempers as well as their forms." Hassam was intrigued as well by the contrast between the dim glow of a gas lamp in the background at right and the metallic glare from unseen new electric streetlights that cast strong shadows.
Madison Square Snowstorm: 1893
Spring Morning in the Heart of the City
(aka Madison Square, New York): 1890
Hassam's view focuses on the busy area west of Madison Square. The entrance to the luxurious Fifth Avenue Hotel, denoted by a classical portico, large circular clock, and two curbside gas lamps, appears at the lower left. This hotel and others, along with theaters, concert halls, and restaurants, made Madison Square one of the city's most vibrant centers for tourism and entertainment during the 1890's.
View of Broadway and Fifth Avenue: 1890
From a balcony at the Hotel Bartholdi, at the southeast corner of Broadway and Twenty-third Street, Hassam looked north to depict the lively space where Broadway and Fifth Avenue cross. Red umbrellas advertising the wares of the adjacent shop echo the red geraniums that decorate the balcony. At center are the triangular traffic island upon which stands the obelisk dedicated in 1857 to Major General William Jenkins Worth, the red-brick façade of the Madison Square Bank building, and the distinctive mansard roof of the Victoria Hotel.
Union Square: 1892
Union Square: ca 1890-93
Union Square in Spring: 1896
Here, Hassam adopted a steeper view than he had used for any earlier urban scene, implying a vantage point in a modern skyscraper, probably the seven-story headquarters of the Century Company on Union Square North. In the foreground is the gabled roof of the small public comfort station just inside the park. Beyond appear the park's lozenges of green lawn, seen as if they were floating on a golden asphalt sea. Across Union Square are the buildings on Fourteenth Street. Distant church steeples stand in contrast to the cathedrals of modern commerce and entertainment that defined the square.
Winter in Union Square: ca 1892
Working more freely than ever before during his first winter in New York, Hassam portrayed snow-covered Union Square from a high vantage point at Seventeenth Street, a block from his studio. By the 1870's the square had become an important center for entertainment and commerce, which Hassam's poetic canvas merely suggests. Veiled by snow are the bulky Morton House Hotel and the domed Domestic Sewing Machine Company building on Fourteenth Street, which bracket the barely defined stone spire of the Gothic Revival Grace Church at Broadway and Tenth Street.
Winter Midnight: 1894
In this unusual New York view, Hassam featured a radiant gas lamp "shining through the haze" while horse-drawn cabs struggle to make their way through a street covered with snow and slush. The canvas anticipates both the mood and the painterly intensity of Realist works by artists such as Robert Henri and George Luks, leaders of the Ashcan School after 1900.
Brooklyn Bridge in Winter: 1904
Flags on the Waldorf: 1916
Flags, Columbus Circle: 1918
Just off the Avenue, Fifty Third Street: May 1916
Ice on the Hudson: 1908
Spring on West 78th Street: 1905
It was through Theodore Robinson, who was working alternatively in America and France, that he, Twachtman, and Weir kept in close touch with Monet who was residing in Giverny at the time. The four Americans represented the core of American Impressionism, dedicated to painting what was real for them, what was familiar and close at hand, out-of-doors when possible, and with the immediacy of light and shadow-which though exaggerated and falsely colored at times-makes a purposeful impact or impression. The urban scene provided its own unique atmosphere and light, one which Hassam found "capable of the most astounding effects" and as picturesque as any seaside scene. The challenge for the Urban Impressionist, however, was that activity moved very quickly, and therefore, getting down a complete impression in oil was next to impossible. To adapt to this, Hassam would find a suitable location, make sketches of the components of his planned painting, then return to the studio to construct a total impression which was in actuality a composite of smaller scenes.
During the summers, he would work in a more typical Impressionist location, such as Appledore Island, the largest of the Isles of Shoals off New Hampshire, then famous for its artist's colony. Social life on the island revolved around the salon of poetess Celia Thaxter. The group was a "jolly, refined, interesting and artistic set of people...like one large family." There Hassam recalled, "I spent some of my pleasantest summers...(and) where I met the best people in the country." Hassam's subjects for his paintings included Thaxter's flower garden, the rocky landscape, and some interior scenes rendered with his most impressionistic brush strokes to date. In Impressionist fashion, he applied his colors "perfectly clear out of the tube" to unprimed canvas without pre-mixing. Artists displayed their work in her salon and were exposed to wealthy buyers staying on the island. Thaxter died in 1894, and in tribute Hassam painted her parlor in 'The Room of Flowers'.
Celia Thaxter in her Garden: 1892
Thaxter seems lost in reverie amid a web of brilliant pigment evoking poppies, bachelor's buttons, coreopsis, hollyhocks, and larkspurs. A weathered board fence, its gate opening beyond the regal figure, denotes the boundary between the garden's cultivated brilliance and untamed nature.
Celia Thaxter's Garden, Appledore,
Isles of Shoals: ca 1890
Celia Thaxter s Garden,
Isles of Shoals, Maine: 1890
Between 1890 and 1894, Hassam celebrated the small garden of old-fashioned flowers that Celia Thaxter planted outside her Appledore Island cottage. He often limited his views to the profusion of garden blooms and those that Thaxter artfully seeded outside the fence to create a "wild" effect. Here, he immersed himself in the flowerbeds so that the garden fence is hidden. He also omitted the three-story hotel next door and the nearby barren and uninviting terrain.
Field of Poppies, Isles of Shaos, Appledore: 1890
Flower Garden, Isles of Shoals: 1893
In this view of Thaxter's garden, the low, close-up vantage point hides any hint of human intervention, prompting the misconception that wildflowers are represented. Thaxter, in fact, painstakingly cultivated her flowers, starting seedlings in eggshells, importing toads to devour insect pests, and rising in the middle of the night to ring plants with slug-deterring lime.
Flower Market: 1895
The Room of Flowers: 1894
Celia Thaxter's famous parlor explodes with flowers, books, and pictures, all splashed with sunlight pouring through un-curtained windows. Beethoven's death mask hanging over the sideboard evokes the musicales held every morning. Here, however, Hassam captures a solitary moment: a young woman reclines on a sofa, absorbed in a book. For her the parlor is a place of liberating comfort where she can put up her feet and lose herself in the world of ideas and imagination.
The Altar and the Shrine: 1892
Celia Thaxter's parlor is one of the most celebrated interiors in American cultural history. In an era when few women of her class earned an independent income, Thaxter supported herself by writing, by selling her painted china and illuminated manuscripts, and by selling bouquets to guests at Appledore House. This corner of her cottage parlor shows flower-filled vases and works by her artist guests that were also for sale.
Starting in the mid-1890's, Hassam also made summer painting excursions to Gloucester, Massachusetts; Cos Cob, Connecticut; and Old Lyme, Connecticut; all of them by the sea but each presenting unique aspects for painting. Even though his sales were good, Hassam continued to take on commercial work, including for the 'World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago' in 1893. After a trip to Havana, Cuba, Hassam returned to New York and had his first major one-man auction show at the American Art Galleries in 1896, featuring over two hundred works, spanning his entire career to date. The New York Times observed that of the "steadily increasing band of impressionists, Mr. Hassam is a priest high in the councils." Most critics were convinced that he had taken Impressionism too far, one stating that "his key of color has been rising higher and higher until it simply screeches. His impression has been growing more and more bleary-eyed." Another critic declared, "He ignores the public that dearly loves a picture." What proved true were the low prices buyers were willing to pay. Hassam realized less than $50 per picture at auction. Other American artists were also having a difficult time, during the general economic slump of 1896, and Hassam decided to leave the depressing scene behind and he returned to Europe.
World's Fair, Chicago: ca 1893-94
Horticultural Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago: 1893
Hassam's visit to Chicago in connection with the World's Columbian Exposition inspired this striking canvas, which portrays the exceptional structure intended to display plant life from around the world. Based on conservatory design, the Horticulture Building was lighter and brighter than the fair's other pavilions. Its transparency and its floral exhibits inevitably attracted Hassam the Impressionist and garden painter.
Scene at the World's Columbian Exposition - Chicago, Illinois: 1892
Nocturne, Hyde Park Corner: ca 1898
Nocturne, Railway Crossing, Chicago: ca 1892-93
In this handsome sheet, Hassam revealed a new sophistication in watercolor technique. He layered subtly varied blue washes to evoke pavement, skyscrapers, streetcars, and horse-drawn carriages and added brilliant highlights to capture glowing lights and their reflections on the wet street. A lively urban scene materializes out of these judicious painterly notations.
Girl Standing: Date Unknown
In the Old House: 1914
Helen Burke, the teenage daughter of Cos Cob's Irish-born tavern keeper, posed for this canvas painted in a first-floor chamber of the Holley House. (In 1912 she had posed for Bowl of Goldfish, on view in this gallery.) In the unsettling summer of 1914, the image of a demure woman at the hearth of an old house offered reassurance of enduring values. Hassam equated the female figure with hearth and home. Helen's lacy dress and pale skin merge with the white fireplace surround; her auburn hair, echoing the color of old bricks, is aligned with the mantel.
The Fireplace: 1912
The Mantle Piece: ca 1912
The couple first sailed to Naples, then went on Rome and Florence. Though staying firmly in the Impressionists corner, he spent much time in galleries and churches studying the Old Masters. The Hassams arrived in Paris in the spring, and then traveled on to England. He continued producing paintings with a very light palette.
A Venetian Regatta: 1891
Gondoliers: ca 1891
A Spring Morning: ca 1891-92
Along the Seine: 1887
In this delightful oil sketch, Hassam used viscous white pigment inflected with various warm and cool grays to suggest the thick snow that muted the clattering wheels of the horse-drawn fiacre seen on the quay. Such spontaneous and intimate works are typical of Hassam's Parisian painting campaign, as are his larger, more complex Salon submissions.
April Showers, Champs Elysees Paris: 1888
In his scenes of rainy days in Paris, Hassam included figures, usually graceful women, making their way unperturbed along the wet pavement. Phrases such as April Showers in his titles reminded viewers that rainy days were characteristic of the metropolis. Yet Hassam's wet-weather views irritated at least one critic, who complained: "Childe Hassam ought to 'come in out of the rain,'" and warned, "One will have to take a dose of quinine as an antidote against the dampness that pervades Mr. Hassam's artistic environment."
April, Quai Voltaire, Paris: 1897
At the Cafe: 1887-90
At the Grand Prix in Paris: 1887
Carriage Parade: 1888
In this unusual composition Hassam cropped principal forms, as Edgar Degas often had done. By cutting off parts of the landau and showing it on the picture plane and from the rear, the artist invited the viewer to enjoy-as if from a seat in the following carriage-the procession toward the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on the day of the Grand Prix.
Cab Station, Rue Bonaparte: 1887
Even more dramatic and much more painterly is 'Une Averse-Rue Bonaparte', painted two years later by Hassam in Paris. It is in the Daniel J. Terra Collection of the Terra Foundation for the Arts in Chicago. This canvas is quite monumental in conception with a wonderful sense of space accented by the couple in the foreground at the lower right, the receding line of carriages in the middle and the poster-strewn wall at the left.
In his review, Mr. Updike notes that this was Hassam's first 'Salon piece', and is "imposing but ungainly." "The hard-pressed working couple, presumably man and daughter, in the forefront make it look like a piece of protest art. As such it wins Ms. Weinberg's praise for signaling 'the coexistence of hardship and prosperity in the modern city and the demise of rural traditions that accompanied urban growth.' Sociologically correct it may be, but its jaundiced colors look willfully dull, and the gleam of we streets doesn't have the magic it did back in freshly paved South Boston. The line of hackney coaches with their horses draws forth his best painting."
While it is true that the old man pulling his cart accompanied by a young girl is in dramatic contrast with the well-dressed coach drivers standing together at the left and the umbrella-carrying people on the right, this is a majestic work and truly superb because of its style and its composition much more than any sociological or political insights some might care to make.
From: Art/Museums: Childe Hassam: American Impressionist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Hackney Carriage, Rue Bonaparte
(aka Fiacre, Rue Bonaparte): 1888
Carriage, Rue Bonaparte, 1888
Horse-drawn vehicles were among Hassam's favorite subjects, and he often painted them in picturesque weather conditions. Here, a driver pauses to light a pipe and passengers huddle under umbrellas on the crowded upper deck of a large public omnibus in the background. Pedestrians make their way along the rain-slicked sidewalk. The lively brushwork suggests Hassam's awareness of Édouard Manet's technique.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris: 1888
Paris Street: 1889
On the Brittany Coast: 1889
Paris Street Scene: 1887
Paris Street Scene: 1889
Paris Nocturne: ca 1889
Paris at Twilight: ca 1887
Marche, Saint Pierre, Montmartre: 1888
Street Scene, Montmartre: 1889
(aka Le Crepuscule): 1888
Promenade at Sunset, Paris: 1888-89
Hassam depicted fashionable Parisians in a variety of settings. In this delightful canvas, a trim young woman lifts the hem of her striped skirt to avoid a puddle as she tiptoes onto a sidewalk filled with other modish types out for a stroll after a rain.
Quai des Tuileries: 1888-89
Rainy Day, Paris: 1893
Rue Madeleine, Place de l'Opera: 1888
Summer Evening, Paris: 1889
In the Garden at Villers-le-Bel: 1889
Peach Blossoms, Villiers-le-Bel: ca 1887-89
Hassam painted few simple landscapes in the French countryside. An exquisite exception is this canvas, which shows an overgrown peach tree in an orchard. The unruly tree, with its tangled veil of blooming branches, is delectably dynamic, especially in contrast to the controlled nature that usually preoccupied Hassam at Villiers-le-Bel.
Rue Montmartre, Paris: 1888
La Bouquetiere et la Latiere
(aka Flower Store and Dairy Store): ca 1888
La Fruitiere (aka A Fruit Store): ca 1888
Among Hassam's signature themes were attractive young Parisian shopkeepers and flower vendors, familiar figures along the quays and on the streets of picturesque Montmartre. La Fruitière, a charming sketchy oil study of a young woman framed in a doorway, is enlivened by the contrasts between brilliant blue and white walls and two huge orange muskmelons.
La Val-de-Grace, Spring Morning: 1888
Lady in Flower Garden: ca 1891
Lady in Pink: 1890
Lady in the Park
(aka In the Garden): 1897
The Artist's Wife in a Garden, Villiers-le-Bel: 1889
The Quai Saint Michel: 1888
The Boid de Boulogne: 1888
Chatou near Bougival: 1889
Houses of Parliament, Early Evening: 1898
Gateway at Canterbury: 1889
Parc Monceau, Paris: 1897
Hassam had painted the Parc Monceau, in the fashionable eighth arrondissement, during his student years and returned during an 1897 visit to Paris to capture its quiet elegance. Hassam's contemporaries, including Claude Monet, had also found inspiration in this small pleasure ground. This canvas announces Hassam's interest in decorative effects by emphasizing a sinuous pathway that curves simultaneously up along the picture plane and back into space.
Le Louvre et le Pont Royal: 1897
View of the Thames: 1889
Bastille Day, Boulevard Rochechouart, Paris: 1889
In the Garden: ca 1888-89
Perhaps inspired by Claude Monet, Hassam paired women and lilacs in several pictures. Here, a woman is perched on a low stone terrace wall and set off by a screen of lilacs accented by poppies that line the wall's edge. The model's fresh pale pink cotton day dress is the utilitarian attire of a maid, suggesting-as Hassam had in After Breakfast (on display in this gallery) and other works-that social class is not relevant to feminine beauty and grace.
In the Park at Saint Cloud: 1889
In the Park, Paris: 1889
This appealing canvas features a woman wearing a bright multicolored skirt and a younger schoolgirl carrying a notebook. The specific site-perhaps the Champs-Élysées or the Jardin des Tuileries-resists identification, but the line of carriages and the mansard roofs seen over the treetops denote the locale as Paris.
Saint Germain l'Auxerrois: 1897
Pont Royal, Paris: 1897
Pont-Aven, Evening: 1897
Pont-Aven, Noon Day: 1897
Hassam spent two or three months in the late summer and early autumn of 1897 painting in villages on the coast of Brittany. Like many French and American artists who frequented Pont-Aven, he was captivated by the quaint buildings, picturesque peasants, and vestiges of old Breton culture, which he portrayed in more than a dozen canvases.
Ponte Santa Trinita: 1897
Bridge at Posilippo, Naples: 1897
April, Quai Voltaire, Paris: 1897
Brittany Peasant at The Pardon: 1897
In a French Garden: 1897
In Brittany Bay: 1897
This canvas combines a catalogue of the features that attracted artists to Pont-Aven: the flank of the Gothic chapel of Tremalo, one of the great chestnut trees and the boulders that were common to the region, and two figures in traditional dress. The tapestry of brushwork and vibrant palette suggest Hassam's awareness of Gauguin's and Monet's recent work in the region.
Les Grands Boulevards, Paris: ca 1897
Street in Pont Aven Evening: ca 1897
Piazza di Spagna, Rome: 1897
(aka Pres du Louvre): ca 1898
Back in New York in 1897, Hassam took part in the secession of Impressionists from the Society of American Artists, forming a new society known as The Ten. The group was energized if not initiated by Hassam, who was among the most radical of members. Their first show at the Durand-Ruel Gallery featured seven of his new European works. Critics dismissed his new work as "experimental" and "quite incomprehensible". Though still interested in including figures in his urban paintings, his new summer works done at Gloucester Harbor, Newport, Old Lyme, and other New England locales show increasing attention to pure landscapes and buildings. As his colors became paler and closer in tone to Monet's, which many viewers found unsettling and unfathomable, he was asked how he came up with a particular palette, and he responded un-mysteriously, "subjects suggest to me a color scheme and I just paint."
In this canvas of Gloucester harbor, repeated verticals direct the eye past the pilings and masts at the lower right across a stretch of open water to the church steeple that lifts its slender spire over the distant clustered houses and warehouses. Such paintings inspired a critic to comment in 1922: "Before I had seen Hassam's pictures, (Gloucester) seemed a fishy little city, now as I pass through it I feel Hassam."
Gloucester Inner Harbor: ca 1899
Yachts, Gloucester Harbor: 1899
Gloucester Harbor: 1899
Gloucester Harbor, 1899
Hassam seems to have set his easel on the ground and somewhat to the left of the vantage point he used for another Gloucester Harbor, eliminating the yellow building at the lower right . He edited out the trolley tracks and power lines that are visible in contemporary photographs of the site. The composition's vertical orientation speeds the eye from the shimmering foliage in the foreground, across the water, to the spires rising above the horizon.
Gloucester Harbor: 1899
At Gloucester: 1890
East Gloucester, End of Trolly Line: 1895
Afterglow, Gloucester Harbor
(aka Ten Pound Island Light): 1890
Sparyard, Inner Harbor Gloucester: 1901
Norman's Woe, Gloucester, Massachusetts: 1918
"WRECK OF THE HESPERUS"
It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintery sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
The Skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
for I fear a hurricane.
"Last night the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the Northeast,
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.
"O father! I hear the church bells ring,
Oh, say, what may it be?"
"Tis a fog-bell on a rock bound coast!"
And he steered for the open sea.
"O father! I hear the sound of guns;
Oh, say, what may it be?"
Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!"
"O father! I see a gleaming light.
Oh say, what may it be?"
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That saved she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf,
On the rocks and hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!
Outskirts of East Gloucester: 1918
The Church at Gloucester: 1918
This canvas, one of Hassam's final church pictures, portrays Gloucester's Universalist meeting house, dedicated in 1806, framed by an avenue of American elms. Hailed as one of Cape Ann's finest structures, the church housed a congregation associated with granting religious freedom to all denominations. It was also celebrated for its bell, cast at Paul Revere's foundry. Following immediately upon Hassam's Flag series, the painting is likewise infused with the nationalistic spirit that pervaded America during World War I.
Cos Cob, Connecticut
The Red Mill, Cos Cob: 1896
Cos Cob: 1902
Casa Eby, Cos Cob: ca 1906
Couch on the Porch, Cos Cob: ca 1914
Mill Site and Old Todal Dam, Cos Cob: 1902
News Depot, Cos Cob: 1912
November, Cos Cob: ca 1902
Oyster Sloop, Cos Cob: ca 1902
Between 1894 and 1916 Hassam often visited Cos Cob, Connecticut, where several American Impressionist painters worked, along with writers and musicians. The artists' colony was headquartered at the Holley family's boardinghouse, which overlooked Cos Cob's modest harbor. (Now called the Bush-Holley House, it is a museum operated by the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich.) From the upper balcony of the house, Hassam painted this view of the type of old-fashioned sail-powered sloop preferred by the Greenwich oystermen.
Summer at Cos Cob: ca 1902
The Fishermen, Cos Cob: 1907
The Mill Pond, Cos Cob: 1902
Cos Cob, Connecticut: Date Unknown
The Brush House: ca 1902
(aka The Old Brush House): 1902
Veranda of the Old House: ca 1912
The Brush House: 1916
Between 1896 and 1916, Hassam spent productive periods working in Cos Cob, Connecticut, a modest waterfront section of Greenwich frequented by writers, editors, and musicians as well as painters. The art colonists congregated at a rambling old saltbox that was operated as a genteel boardinghouse by Josephine Holley and her daughter Constant. The old houses, barns, mill, and nearby shipyard inspired so many pictures that Hassam nicknamed the art colony "the Cos Cob Clapboard School." Hassam focused on figural and architectural subjects, including the Holley House itself (now called the Bush-Holley House, a museum operated by the Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich). Across the road from the Holley House, the Brush house was built sometime between 1751 and 1784. Artists sometimes roomed at Brush's if the Holley House was full, but its ramshackle condition made it more desirable as the subject of a picture than as a place to stay. In this watercolor of the house, Hassam focused on the network of shadows on the steep roof. He left the paper bare to suggest patches of sunlight in some areas; in others he painted wet-into-wet to produce veils of color.
The Holly Farm: ca 1902
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Old Lyme Bridge: 1903
Church at Old Lyme: 1903
Church at Old Lyme: 1905
Hassam visited many picturesque New England towns, often painting the white clapboard churches that were emblems of Anglo-American tradition. On several visits to Old Lyme, Connecticut, between 1903 and 1915, Hassam depicted the First Congregational Church built in 1817. In seven oils, watercolors, and prints, he recorded the church from different vantage points and noted the changing seasons in its setting of American elms.
Church at Old Lyme: 1906
Hassam's images of Old Lyme's First Congregational Church show him shifting from side to side as if seeking the most flattering angle for a portrait. As a boy he attended a Unitarian church; an Episcopalian priest officiated at his funeral. In the intervening years religion seems to have played no part in his life. For Hassam, the New England meetinghouse represented not a place of worship but an emblem of beauty and of Anglo-American tradition, enhanced here by the absence of figures.
From the justifiably famous series on the 'Old Lyme Congregational Church' to his figure paintings and interiors, Hassam's nostalgic images made icons out of many New England scenes. "It's as if these paintings are coming home," notes Florence Griswold Museum curator Amy Ellis. "Visitors to Old Lyme can see these paintings in the very setting they were created."
Apple Trees in Bloom, Old Lyme: 1904
In Old Lyme, as in Appledore and Cos Cob, artists congregated at Florence Griswold's unpretentious but aesthetic house. (Built in 1817, the house is today part of the Florence Griswold Museum.) When Hassam stayed there, he kept his materials in one of the studios, converted from barns and sheds, that stood between the boardinghouse and the Lieutenant River. He depicted his studio in the background of this oil, in which a vigorous apple tree takes center stage.
Spring at Old Lyme: 1906
Bridge at Old Lyme: 1908
Dragon Cloud, Old Lyme: 1903
The Cedar Lot, Old Lyme: 1904
The Victorian Chair: 1906
For this enchanting picture, probably painted during a visit to Old Lyme, Hassam posed his model in profile in a balloon-back armchair in the Rococo style. He rarely depicted such "modern" furniture, preferring heirlooms of earlier New England. Here, however, he took advantage of the huge red roses of the upholstery to suggest an indoor garden for the young woman who is also "in bloom."
Twenty Sixth of June, Old Lyme: 1912
In this painting Hassam celebrated June 26, 1912, Maud Hassam's fiftieth birthday. She adopted the same pose, costume, and hairstyle as the model in 'The Table Garden', painted in New York in 1910. Here, the vase of mountain laurel establishes the Old Lyme setting. Connecticut's official flower, laurel grows throughout the state, but it flourishes in Old Lyme's rocky ledges and became a favorite of artists there.
The Isles of Shoals
Summer Evening: 1886
This enchanting painting announces three themes that would occupy Hassam at the Isles of Shoals during the next thirty years: flowers, the female figure, and the sea. The model, who resembles his wife, is sheltered by the cool shady interior. In contrast to the hermetic New York interiors Hassam would paint in the 1910's, this room seems a pleasant retreat in which the woman still enjoys her connection to nature.
The West Wind, Isles of Shoals: 1904
The exhilarating spaciousness of this composition is in marked contrast to the sense of confinement in many of Hassam's Shoals shorescapes. Hassam offered a gull's-eye view of the sea, the distant shore, and the blue hills beyond. Tiny sails speed the viewer's gaze over the whitecap-flecked Atlantic. Hassam produced economical, nearly abstract works of this kind throughout his years at Appledore.
Isles of Shoals: 1886
Isles of Shoals: 1890-94
Isles of Shoals: 1907
Isles of Shoals: 1909
Isles of Shoals: 1912
Isles of Shoals: 1915
Isles of Shoals: ca 1890
Walk Around the Island: 1890
Isles of Shoals Garden
(aka The Garden in Its Glory): 1892
Despite Appledore Island's harsh climate and poor soil, Celia Thaxter cultivated a luxuriant garden surrounded by weathered board fences draped with tangled vines. Hassam celebrated the garden's creator in this splendid sheet, showing Celia and her grandson framed by the cottage doorway, a trellis, and banks of blossoms.
Isles of Shoals Garden, Appledore: ca 1895
Isles of Shoals, Appledore: ca 1890
An Isles of Shoals Day: ca 1901
Coast Scene, Isles of Shoals: 1901
Celia Thaxter died at her cottage on Appledore in August 1894. Hassam returned to the Shoals in the summer of 1895. Then and during his many later visits he found a newly compelling subject: the rugged coastline. "The rocks and the sea are the few things that do not change and they are wonderfully beautiful-more so than ever!" he enthused to the painter J. Alden Weir in 1903.
Sunset at Sea: 1911
During his many visits to the Isles of Shoals, Hassam occasionally painted nearly abstract pictures. Likely influenced by the simplified seascapes of his compatriot James McNeill Whistler and by French post-Impressionist works he saw in Europe in 1910, he translated sea and sky into flat decorative bands of color, as in this canvas.
Duck Island: 1906
Duck Island from Appledore: 1911
Duck Island's ledges caused numerous shipwrecks. Whereas Winslow Homer, who painted seascapes at Prout's Neck, Maine, about forty miles up the coast, would have conveyed their danger, Hassam created a sparkling tapestry of benign rocks, water, and sky.
Duck Island, Isles of Shoals: 1906
The North Gorge, Appledore, Isles of Shoals: 1912
Northeast Gorge at Appledore: 1912
Northeast Headlands, Appledore: 1909
Summer Afternoon, Isles of Shoals: ca 1901
Poppies, Isles of Shoals: 1890
For this delightful pastel, Hassam chose a low close-up vantage point in order to immerse the viewer in the profusion of color: bright green grasses, dazzling pink and red poppies and hollyhocks, rich blue larkspurs, and vivid yellow sunflowers. Additional colored marks that merely suggest flowers further enliven the scene and amplify the contrast between the garden and the clear blue sky.
Poppies, Isles of Shoals: 1891
Celia Thaxter's Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine presents the view of Babb's Rock from the garden. Hassam painted the same vista a year later in this canvas, moving closer to the shoreline to focus on a mass of poppies Thaxter had planted beyond the fenced enclosure. In early May 1893 Thaxter noted in her journal that she had sown poppy seeds all over the bank sloping down to the sea: "I am always planting Shirley Poppies somewhere!" she enthused. "One can never have enough of them."
Surf, Isles of Shoals: 1913
In this canvas, sunlight dances over the water, rocks embrace the shallows in a protective curve, and breakers embellish the edges of the composition. The sea deepens from a multicolored mosaic in the foreground through a medium blue to a deeper, darker band. Distant islands gleam under a cloudless sky. Nature does not threaten but cajoles.
Sylph's Rock, Appledore: 1907
Hassam's bold treatment of the rocky fringes of the Isles of Shoals echoes Winslow Homer's paintings of the nearby Maine coast and Claude Monet's pictures of the Normandy shoreline. Responding in this composition to the geological formation of an Appledore landmark, Hassam emphasized the coloristic variety apparent in the craggy stone, swirling sea, and summer sky.
The Isles of Shoals: 1912
The Sonata: 1893
While probably not painted at the Isles of Shoals, this canvas expresses the devotion to music and art that pervaded Celia Thaxter's circle there. In 1929 Hassam exhibited the picture under the title Beethoven's Sonata Appassionata, an affecting piece that explains the exhausted pose of the young woman who has just performed it. The snuffed candle that stands on the piano also implies the end of the emotional recital. The canvas is signed on the abstract Shoals seascape above the piano.
The Sea: 1892
Hassam was astute in marketing his work, and was represented by dealers and museums in several cities and abroad; so despite the negative critics and the conservative buyers, he did manage to keep selling and painting without having to resort to teaching in order to survive financially. A colleague described Hassam as an artist "with a keen knowledge of distribution, the tactical ability to place his work." As the new century began, some three decades after the Impressionists first exhibitions in France, Impressionism finally gained a legitimacy in the American art community, and Hassam began to sell to major museums and receive jury awards and medals, vindicating his belief in his vision. In 1906, he was elected Academician of the National Academy of Design.
Shoveling Snow, New England: ca 1905
New England Road: ca 1902
White Church at Newport
(aka Church in a New England Village): 1901
Newport Waterfront: 1901
Newport, October Sundown: 1901
Cat Boats, Newport: 1901
Duke Street, Newport: 1901
Flagstone Sidewalk, Portsmouth, New Hampshire: 1916
Street in Portsmouth: 1916
Hassam was so enchanted with New England's classic white churches that he "restored" one of them in this watercolor. He suggested in the distance the steeple of the First Universalist church, which had burned, rather than the Romanesque brick structure that had replaced it on the site overlooking the New Hampshire seaport. American elms and two of Portsmouth's old houses line the street in the foreground.
Moolight-the Old House: 1906
Moonlight on the Sound: 1906
Moonlight Scene: 1907
September Moonrise: 1900
Sailing Vessel at Sea, Sunset: 1904
Central Park: New York City
Central Park: 1892
Like the great squares along Fifth Avenue, Central Park inspired several compositions by the artist. Here, well-dressed people promenade along the park's pathways and the perimeter of the Conservatory Water just off Fifth Avenue at Seventy-third Street. Like William Merritt Chase, the first American Impressionist to respond to Central Park's pictorial potential, Hassam focused on the then-genteel spot most often frequented by families from the adjacent affluent neighborhood.
Spring in Central Park
(aka Springtime): 1898
After sojourning in Europe from December 1896 to November 1897, Hassam rededicated himself to recording city views. This canvas, featuring a nurse and her two young charges, reveals his impressive new command of composition and technique. He played the volumes of the figures against the flat patterns of the pathway and adjacent lawn, captured contrasts between sparkling sunlight and shadows, and balanced the requirements of depiction with those of design, as he would do in many of his twentieth-century works.
Central Park: 1906
Descending the Steps, Central Park: 1895
In Central Park: 1898
Nurses in the Park: 1889
Winter, Central Park: 1901
New York Hod Carriers: 1900
The New York Bouquet,
West Forty Second Street: 1917
New York Landscape: 1918
Saint Patrick's Day: 1919
New York Street Scene: ca 1890
The Snowy Winter of New York: 1918
New York Winter Window: 1918-19
Tanagra - The Builders, New York: 1918
Hassam wrote a description of this painting: "The blonde Aryan girl holding a Tanagra figurine in her hand against the background of New York building-one in the process of construction and the Chinese lilies springing up from the bulbs is intended to typify and symbolize growth-the growth of a great city, hence the subtitle The Builders, New York."
View of New York from the Top of Fort George: 1920
After a brief period of depression and drinking as part of an apparent mid-life crisis, the forty-five year old Hassam then committed himself to a healthier life style, including swimming. During this time he felt a spiritual and artistic rejuvenation and he painted some Neo-Classical subjects, including nudes in outdoor settings. His urban subjects began to diminish and he confessed that he was tiring of city life-as bustling subways, elevated trains, and motor buses supplanted the graciousness of the horse-drawn scenes he was so fond of capturing in earlier times. The architecture of the city changed as well. Stately mansions gave way to skyscrapers, which he admitted had its own artistic appeal, "One must grant of course that if taken individually a skyscraper is not much of a marvel of art as a wildly formed architectural freak. It is when taken in groups with their zig zag outlines towering against the sky and melting tenderly into the distance that the skyscrapers are truly beautiful." Hassam urban paintings now take on a higher perspective and humans shrink in size accordingly, as illustrated in 'Lower Manhattan' (1907). He began to spend only his winters in New York and traveled the balance of the year, calling himself "the Marco Polo of the painters." In 1904 and 1908, he traveled to Oregon and was stimulated by new subjects and diverse views, frequently working out-of-doors with fellow artist C. E. S. Wood. He produced over 100 paintings, pastels, and watercolors of the High Desert, the rugged coast, the Cascades, scenes of Portland, even nudes in idealized landscapes (a series of bathers comparable to those of Symbolist Pierre Puvis de Chavannes). As was his normal method, he adapted his style and colors to the subject at hand and the mood of place, but always in the Impressionist vein.
Summer Porch at Mr.and Mrs. C.E.S. Wood's: 1904
Oregon and the Western United States
Afternoon Sky, Harney Desert: 1908
Alkali-Rabbit Brush and Grease Wood Squaw Cap, Oregon Trail: 1908
(aka Rain Clouds over Oregon Desert): ca 1908
Harney Desert: 1908
Harney Desert: 1908
Harney Desert: 1908
Harney Desert Landscape: 1904
Mount Hood (Oregon): 1904
End of Timberline, Mount Hood: 1904
On the Snake River, Oregon: 1904
Moonrise at Sunset, Harney Desert: 1908
Mount Hood: 1908
Mount Hood and the Valley of the Willamette: 1908
Oregon Landscape: 1908
Over the Great Divide: 1908
Cannon Beach, Oregon: ca 1901
Ecola Beach, Oregon: 1904
With the art market now eagerly accepting his work, by 1909 Hassam was enjoying great success, earning as much as $6,000 per painting. His close friend and fellow artist J. Alden Weir commented to another artist, "Our mutual friend Hassam has been in the greatest of luck and merited success. He sold his apartment studio and has sold more pictures this winter, I think, than ever before and is really on the crest of the wave. So he goes around with a crisp, cheerful air."
(aka Lady in Furs, Portrait of Mrs. Searle): 1912
Lady in Furs
(aka Mrs. Charles A. Searles): 1912
Edith Wolcott Tuckerman: 1892
(Mrs. DwightBlaney): 1894
Fifth Avenue at Washington Square: 1891
Morning Light: 1914
Maud Hassam posed for this picture, painted in the north bedroom of the Holley House. We glimpse her at her toilette-an intimate moment that a genteel woman of her era would share only with her husband. Hassam set up a game of reflections, fragmenting his wife's image in three mirrors. He also played with various modes of illumination: a matchstick blind suspended from the upper porch filters the morning light; an old-fashioned shade, raised nearly to the top of the window, imparts an amber glow; light from the unseen north window caresses the model and highlights her silver-and-glass dressing-table set.
(aka The Artist's Sister): 1885
Mrs. Hassam and her Sister: 1889
Here, the artist's wife, seated and viewed in profile, and his sister-in-law, playing the spinet, enjoy a quiet moment, apparently in his Paris studio/residence. The two women are shown clad in undergarments, suggesting the private intention of the work. Mrs. Hassam also wears long yellow gloves, implying that the artist was dressing up his models for a studio exercise, not recording a moment in their daily routine.
Mrs. Hassam at Villiers-le-Bel: 1888
Mrs. Hassam in the Garden: 1888
Mrs. Hassam in the Garden: 1896
Mrs. Holley of Cos Cob, Connecticut: 1912
Nudes and Bathers by the Sea
Aphrodite, Appledore: 1908
At Sunset: 1909
Bathing Pool, Appledore: 1907
East Headland Pool: 1912
Incoming Tide: 1919
Moonrise at Sunset: 1900
Morning, Old Lyme: 1905
Nude in Sunlilt Wood: 1905
Nude on the Cliffs: 1906
Nymph Bathing: 1904
Nymph on a Rocky Ledge: 1886
The Bather: 1904
The Bather: 1915
The Bathers: 1904
The Butterfly: 1902
The Nymph of Beryl Gorge: 1914
The Quarry Pool, Folly Cove,
Cape Ann: 1918
The Hassams returned to Europe in 1910 to find Paris much changed, "The town is all torn up like New York. Much building going on. They out American the Americans!" In the midst of the vibrant city, Hassam painted 'July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou' during the Bastille Day celebrations, a forerunner of his famous Flag Series.
July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou: 1910
During a visit to Paris, Hassam responded to the delights of the Bastille Day celebrations, painting this canvas from the window of his hotel on the Rue Daunou. For Hassam, July 14 would have recalled the Fourth of July, perhaps prompting him to exaggerate the number of American flags displayed. The canvas anticipates the Flag series that he began in New York six years later.
Street of the Great Captain, Cordoba: 1910
Brelevenez-Lannion-Cote du Nord, France: 1910
Brittany Barns: 1910
Cathedral at Ronda: 1910
Perros, Guire-Cotes du Nord, France: 1910
Square at Sevilla: 1910
The Quai, Lannion: 1910
When he came back to New York, Hassam began a series of "window" paintings which he continued until the 1920's, usually featuring a contemplative female model in a flowered kimono before a light-filled curtained or open window, as in 'The Goldfish Window' (1916). The scenes were popular with museums and quickly snapped up. Hassam was especially prolific and energetic in the 1910-1920 period causing one critic to comment, "Think of the appalling number of Hassam pictures there will be in the world by the time the man is seventy years old!" In reality, Hassam did produce thousands of works in nearly every medium during his life. Where his friend Weir might paint six canvases in a season, Hassam would do forty.
Bowl of Goldfish: 1912
After 1910 Hassam often retreated inside the Holley House to paint female models, creating country counterparts of his contemporaneous New York Window series (displayed in the final gallery). Although the models at Cos Cob are seen indoors, windows are flung open and curtains frame outdoor views. In this canvas, the model's erect posture echoes the slender tree trunk, her flowered kimono seems an extension of the garden, and the bowl of swirling goldfish brings the lively world of nature into the domestic sphere.
The Goldfish Window: 1916
During that period he also returned to watercolors and oils of coastal scenes, as exemplified by 'The South Ledges, Appledore' (1913), which employs an unusually balanced division of sea and rocks diagonally across a nearly square canvas, giving equal weight to sea and land, water and rock. He also produced some still-life paintings.
The South Ledges, Appledore: 1913
Appledore's rocks-remnants of the Ice Age in a place where evidence of human history was limited-were tourist attractions, and Hassam enjoyed them as much as any other summer visitor. This composition places a slender woman in nature while shielding her from it. Firmly contained by the rocks, she sits high and dry, adjusting her wide-brimmed hat with a gloved hand. Her white costume merges with the chalky cliffs; only her blue shadow and purple hatband announce her presence.
August Afternoon, Appledore: 1900
Lyman's Ledge, Appledore: 1907
Hassam had six paintings on display at the famous Armory Show of 1913, where Impressionism was finally viewed as mainstream and nearly an historical style, and displaced by the clamor over the radical revolution of Cubism, fresh from Europe. He and Weir were the oldest exhibitors, nicknamed at a press dinner as "The Mammoth and the Mastodon of American Art". Hassam viewed the new art trends from abroad with alarm, stating "this is the age of quacks, and quackery, and New York City is their objective point." He was also displeased that the Armory Show took away attention from the latest exhibits of 'The Ten'.
In 1913, Hassam was honored with a separate gallery showing at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition featuring thirty-eight pictures. Around 1915, he renewed his interest in etching and lithography, producing more than 400 of these works during his later career; but while artistically satisfying, they achieved only so-so public acceptance, as he commented, "some sell and some of the best do not."
The most distinctive and famous works of his later life compose the set of about thirty paintings known as the "Flag Series", which he began in 1916 when he was inspired by a "Preparedness Parade" (for the American involvement in World War I) held on Fifth Avenue in New York renamed the "Avenue of the Allies'' during the Liberty Loan Drives of 1918. Thousands participated in these parades which often lasted for over twelve hours."
The Big Parade: 1917
Up the Avenue from Thirty-Fourth Street: 1917
Being an avid Francophile, of English ancestry, and strongly anti-German, Hassam enthusiastically backed the Allied cause and the protection of French culture. The Hassams joined with other artists in the war relief effort from nearly the beginning of the conflict in 1914, when most Americans as well as President Woodrow Wilson were decidedly isolationist. He even had in mind to volunteer to go to Europe to record the war, but the government would not approve the trip. He was even arrested and quickly released for innocently sketching naval maneuvers along the city's rivers. As well as the time he gave to many committees, several of the flag pictures were contributed to the war relief, and he accepted Liberty Bonds in payment for one. Although he had great hopes that the entire series would sell as a war memorial set (for $100,000), the pictures were sold individually after several group exhibitions, the last at the Corcoran Gallery in 1922.
Childe Hassam's Flag Series
The Fourth of July, 1916
In 1916 Hassam embarked upon the Flag series, based on the nationalistic displays of flags, banners, and bunting on the buildings that lined Manhattan streets in response to World War I. During an unusual summer visit to the city, Hassam created this exceptional canvas, one of only two sunny summer flag scenes. While he denoted the site as Fifth Avenue by showing its tall buildings and a green double-decker bus, he obscured the precise location, perhaps to imply that the entire length of the great boulevard was bedecked with flags.
Allies Day, May 1917
After the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917, the American flag was displayed in New York alongside those of Great Britain and France. The vantage point for this canvas, the most famous in the Flag series, was the northeast corner of Fifty-second Street, looking north along Fifth Avenue. Saint Thomas Church, the University Club, the Gotham (now Peninsula) Hotel, and the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church line the avenue's west side. The French tricolor, the Union Jack, the Canadian Red Ensign, and the Stars and Stripes-all variations on the theme of red, white, and blue-symbolize the unity of the Allies.
Flags on Fifty-Seventh Street, the Winter of 1918
From late 1917 to early 1918 Hassam experimented with new compositions for images of flag-lined city streets. In this view, he departed from the long vistas presented by Fifth Avenue to portray the intersection of Fifty-seventh Street and Sixth Avenue as seen from his studio. As unusual as the locale are the winter setting, steep perspective, and presence of the Sixth Avenue El in the background. Fifty-seventh Street was not a venue for ceremonial, patriotic displays, and commercial tenants provided the banners pictured.
Avenue of the Allies, Great Britain: 1918
For Liberty Loan drives, organized by the United States government to raise money for wartime expenses by selling savings bonds, blocks along Fifth Avenue featured flags of the twenty-two Allies. American flags appeared at intervals and red-and-white Liberty Loan banners bedecked lampposts. Here, Hassam looked north from Fifty-third Street and compressed into a vibrant pattern three blocks dedicated to the flags of Great Britain, Brazil, and Belgium. Perhaps in emulation of post-Impressionist compositions, he interpreted the flags as abstract elements, emphasizing brilliant surface effects.
Red Cross Drive, May 1918
Hassam recorded not only flags but also wartime fund-raising events-here, a parade that highlighted and benefited an international humanitarian organization. The Flag series reflected the spirit of an America that was answering President Woodrow Wilson's appeal for self-sacrifice at a critical moment in history, singing the national anthems of the Allies at the close of church services, and participating in patriotic activities.
Victory Day, May 1919
Four days after the armistice agreement was signed, on November 11, 1918, Hassam showed twenty-three paintings in the Flag series together for the first time. He continued to respond to the flag displays for several months. Here, in the final picture in the series, Hassam avoided recording the most dramatic event of May 1919: the May 6 parade of the returning Seventy-seventh Division up flag-lined Fifth Avenue. His canvas is dominated not by throngs of marchers and spectators but by an array of large blue and white victory pennants and red and white banners urging the purchase of victory bonds.
Broadway and 42nd Street, 1902
Hassam captured the allure of a winter evening in Long Acre Square, which had surpassed Union Square as Manhattan's commercial entertainment center by the early 1900s. (Long Acre Square became known as Times Square after the newspaper opened its headquarters there in 1904.) Electric lights, introduced in Long Acre Square in 1895 and seen glowing here in the shop windows, gave rise to the name the "Great White Way." Trolley cars, seen passing horse-drawn cabs, add another modern note to the view.
The Table Garden, 1910
In his New York Window series, Hassam created a sense of intimacy by anchoring his compositions in rectilinear grids composed of the walls and sunlit curtained windows in the apartment adjoining his studio at 130 West Fifty-seventh Street. Painted contre jour against these grids are solitary women engrossed in reverie. In this canvas he contrasted stark man-made buildings seen through the windows with natural elements that are abstracted in the pattern of the model's robe and controlled in the dishes of narcissus.
Fifth Avenue, Noon: 1916
Hassam approached the medium of etching with an Impressionist's passion for light. He would wipe his plate almost clean before printing to enhance contrast rather than seek softer effects. In this etching, he recorded brilliant sunlight on the blank wall of B. Altman's department store (now the Graduate Center of the City University of New York), at the northeast corner of Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue. (The view is reversed in the etching.)
Lower Manhattan (View Down Broad Street): 1907
In this view of Broad Street looking north toward its intersection with Wall Street, the Neoclassical New York Stock Exchange building, with an immense Corinthian-style colonnade, appears at the left. The confined scene, elevated vantage point, and cropped building cornices emphasize the financial district's shaded canyons. In the foreground, feathery brushstrokes describe the frenzied knot of the curb exchange-traders who had no places on the Stock Exchange.
Lafayette Street: 1918
A massive American flag (counterbalanced by a conspicuously narrower French one) dominates this view of a bustling Greenwich Village street corner seen from a second-story window. Hassam employed the traditional litho tint crayon to render the essential outlines of the scene and used tusche (the crayon's liquid form, applied with a brush) to describe areas of shadow. He appears to have been pleased with the results: in addition to the formal signature placed on the foreground building, he inscribed CH on the box on the horse-drawn cart.
Monet, among other French artists, had also painted flag-themed works, but Hassam's have a distinctly American character, displayed on New York's most fashionable street with his own compositional style and artistic vision. In most paintings in the series, the flags dominate the foreground, while in others the flags are simply part of the festive panorama. In some, the American flags wave alone and in others, flags of the Allies flutter as well. In his most impressionistic painting in the series, 'The Avenue in the Rain' (1917), which has been in the White House permanent collection since the Kennedy Administration, the flags and their reflections are blurred so extremely as to appear to be viewed through a rain-smeared window. His flag paintings cover all seasons and various weather and light conditions. Hassam makes a patriotic statement without overt reference to parades, soldiers, or war, apart for one picture showing a flag exclaiming "Buy Liberty Bonds". The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society, and the National Gallery of Art all own a Hassam flag painting.
The Avenue in the Rain: 1917
In 1919, Hassam purchased a home in East Hampton, New York. Many of his late paintings employed nearby subjects in that town and on Long Island. The post-war art market boomed in the 1920's, and Hassam commanded escalating prices, though some critics thought he had become static and repetitive, as American art had begun to move on to the Realism of the Ashcan School and artists like Edward Hopper and Robert Henri. In 1920, he received the Gold Medal of Honor for lifetime achievement from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and numerous other awards through the 1920's. Hassam traveled relatively little in his last years, but did visit California, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, and Mexico. He died in East Hampton in 1935, at age 75.
East Hampton, New York
The Water Garden: 1909
This canvas was inspired by the ambitious Japanese water garden installed by Mrs. Lorenzo G. Woodhouse adjacent to Greycroft, her estate on the south side of Huntting Lane in East Hampton. The garden included waves of Japanese irises along a water-lily pond and a narrow stream traversed by a small footbridge. Hassam created a strong rhythmic composition featuring flattened space and vigorous stitches of pigment.
East Hampton: 1920
East Hampton: ca 1916
(aka Old Mumford House): 1919
Elms, East Hampton, New York: 1920
Home Sweet Home Cottage: 1917
Home Sweet Home Cottage, East Hampton: 1916
Hutchison House, East Hampton: 1919
Little Old Cottage, Egypt Lane, East Hampton: 1917
Hassam often celebrated the shapes, textures, and domestic details of East Hampton's old houses. This canvas depicts a late-eighteenth-century timber-framed two-story saltbox that had been moved in 1900 to Egypt Lane from its original site at Three Mile Harbor, about five miles north of East Hampton. Hassam hinted at domestic comforts by including a white cat and, next to the batten door, two ladder-back chairs that would invite conversation on the narrow porch.
Old House and Garden, East Hampton: 1898
This eighteenth-century timber-framed saltbox clad in weathered cedar shingles opened onto an informal garden filled with roses and lilies. The close-up view and profuse foliage make it difficult to identify the house, suggesting that Hassam wished to evoke domestic comfort rather than provide architectural documentation.
Old House, East Hampton: 1917
Old Mumford House, East Hampton: 1918
To the end, he denounced modern trends in art, and he termed "art boobys" all the painters, critics, collectors, and dealers who got on the bandwagon and promoted Cubism, Surrealism and other avant-garde movements." From his death until a revival of interest in American Impressionism in the 1960's, Hassam was considered among the "abandoned geniuses". As French Impressionist paintings reached stratospheric prices in the 1970's, Hassam and other American Impressionists gained renewed interest and were bid up as well.
Source: Childe Hassam Online
Source: The Athenaeum
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Special Exhibitions: Childe Hassam
Various Works of Childe Hassam
(These are not placed in any thematic or chronological order.)
A Country Road: 1891
A Familiar Tune: 1880-89
A Favorite Corner: 1892
A Fisherman's Cottage: 1895
A New Year's Nocturne, New York: 1892
A New York Blizzard: 1890
A Parade of Boats: ca 1894-95
A Rainy Day, New York: 1889
A Venetian Regatta: 1918
Acorn Street, Boston: 1919
Across the Common on a Winter Evening: 1885-86
Across the Park: 1904
Afternoon in Nantucket: ca 1890-1900
Against the Light: 1910
Amagansett, Long Island, New York: 1920
At the Florist: 1889
At the Piano: 1908
At the Writing Desk: 1910
Autumn Hilltop, New England: 1906
Bending Sail on the Old Mill: 1920
Bleakk House, Broadstairs: (Date Unlnown)
Blossoming Trees: 1882
Boy with Flower Pots: ca 1913
Calvary Church in the Snow: 1893
Building the Schooner, Provincetown: 1900
Cathedral Spires, Spring Morning: 1900
Chicken Yard Back of the Holley House: 1902
Colonial Graveyard at Lexington: ca 1891
Confirmation Day: 1889
Connecticut Hunting Scene: 1904
Conversation on the Avenue: ca 1892
The slender young New Yorkers in bright stylish dresses in this oil echo the charming girls Hassam had depicted in the French capital. At the same time, they illustrate his claim that "New York women are sometimes the finest-dressed women in the world."
Country Fair, New England
(aka Harvest Celebration in a New England Village): 1890
Dewey's Arch: 1900
Early Evening, After Snowfall: ca 1906
End of the Trolley Line, Oak Park, Illinois: ca 1893
Figures in Sunlight: 1903
Golden Afternoon: 1908
In fall 1908 Hassam made the second of two visits to eastern Oregon. With a local judge and a longtime friend - the attorney, collector, and poet Colonel C.E.S. Wood - he camped for two months in the heart of Harney and Malheur Counties. He responded to the vast expanses, barren buttes, blazing light, and opalescent colors in about forty oils and watercolors. This panoramic view of Steen's Mountain from the P Ranch, the party's headquarters, was described by Wood as "the most poetical thing" the artist had done.
Giant Magnolias: 1904
High Bridge: 1922
Hill of the Sun, San Anselmo, California: 1914
Home of the Hummingbird: 1893
Hassam usually disguised the underpinnings of Thaxter's garden. This handsome sheet, a rare exception, records the vertical supports for the string, netting, or chicken wire that propped up and protected the plants.
Idle Hours: 1882
Indian Summer in Madison Square: 1892
Jelly Fish: 1912
July Night: 1898
(aka Sunset): 1903
Late Afternoon, New York Winter: 1900
Laurel on the Ledges: 1906
Hassam probably painted this canvas in the garden that Mrs. Lorenzo E. Woodhouse constructed at her house, The Fens, on the north side of Huntting Lane in East Hampton. Unlike her aunt's Japanese garden across the street (seen in Hassam's The Water Garden), this Italianate garden was divided into "rooms" by concrete walls, trellis screens, and hedges and was ornamented with flowerbeds, sculpture, seats, urns, and pools. In Lilies, Hassam portrayed one such pool and a seated model in a classical gown appropriate to the Italianate setting.
Listening to the Orchard Oriole: 1902
Little Cobbler's Shop: 1912
One of Hassam's more charming and intimate urban scenes is 'Little Cobbler's Shop' in the collection of the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts. The catalogue notes that while the 1912 picture "strikes a modern note by featuring at its center the Alwyn Auto School, located at 912 Seventh Avenue at about Fifty-eighth Street (around the corner from Hassam's studio), the intimacy of the view implies that the city can still feel like a small harmonious village." The "melancholy tone," however, the catalogue continued, "expresses Hassam's waning appreciation of New York's dynamism."
Looking into Beryl Pool: 1912
Marechal Niel Roses: 1919
Messinger Boy: 1902
Mixed Foursome: 1923
Newfields, New Hampshire: 1906
Newfields, New Hampshire: 1918
Old Bottle Man: 1892
Old Dutch Building, Fishkill, New York: 1916
Old House, Nantucket: ca 1882
On the Balcony: 1888
On the Deck: 1883
'On the Deck' is perhaps the finest Hassam watercolor as well as the most atypical. Its askew composition and fine details are very effective.
Place Centrale and Fort Cabanas, Havana: 1895
Point Lobos, Carmel: 1914
Late in 1914 Hassam went to San Francisco to oversee the installation of a mural he had executed for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and painted about a dozen scenes along the nearby coast. Point Lobos, south of the Monterey Peninsula, is noted for its geological formations, rare flora, and astonishing beauty. Hassam composed the brilliantly sunny, freely brushed view so that it resembled one at Appledore. Only the wind-sculpted Monterey cypress trees-a rare species indigenous to the region-announce the actual locale.
Portrait of a Lady in Blue Dress: 1906
Hassam chronicled his first visit to Europe in watercolors, taking advantage of the portability of the medium. In this ambitious sheet, he demonstrated his illustrator's habit of recording details. The locale depicted may be a broad promenade near the port of Ouchy on Lake Geneva. The composition and subject anticipate Hassam's pictures of fashionable pedestrians on the boulevards of Boston, Paris, and New York.
Reading: Date Unknown
(Kitty Hughes): 1917
Roses: ca 1895
Spring Landscape: 1906
Spring Woods: 1921
Spring, Navesink Highlands: 1908
Childe Hassam lived in New York, but he also spent a good deal of time away from the chaos of urban life, painting landscapes and quaint villages in New England. (Pyne, Art and the Higher Life, 1999) In this painting of New Jersey's Navesink Highlands, he used quick brushstrokes to capture the effect of a cool spring breeze in the flickering leaves and ripples on the water. After he had chosen a frame for the piece he wrote to his patron William T. Evans that "I am glad to say it looks as fine as anything anywhere in the world."
Still Life Fruits: 1904
Still Life, Fruits: 1908
Summer Sunlight: 1892
Most of Hassam's New England pictures are site-specific, as are the titles he gave them. This lovely pastel, in contrast, could represent a flower-bordered driveway on almost any suburban estate. It becomes, therefore, an engaging icon of the experience of summertime and childhood.
Sunday Morning: ca 1897
Sunlight on an Old House, Putnam: Date Unknown
Sunrise Autumn: 1885
Telegraph Hill San Francisco: 1914
The Silver Veil and the Golden Gate: 1914
Ten Pound Island: 1896
The Ash Blond: 1918
The Barnyard: 1885
The Children: ca 1897
The Chinese Merchants: 1909
The Breakfast Room, Winter Morning: ca 1911
The idealized representation of a modern woman of leisure captured during an introspective moment was a popular subject for American artists at the turn of the century. About 1910 Hassam, one of America's foremost Impressionists, began the "New York Window" series, a group of paintings depicting a contemplative woman seated before a curtained window. In The Breakfast Room the form of the faceless subject is one of several elements- including the seemingly mundane silhouette of the window, the vase of flowers, and the bowl of fruit- that the artist used to balance his asymmetrical composition. Clearly, Hassam delighted in differentiating the visual effects of light on various textures, such as the sheer curtain, the gossamer fabric of the sitter's dress, the reflective surface of the tabletop, and the sparkling transparency of the glass vase.
The Flag Outside her Window, April: 1918
(aka Boys Marching By, 1918)
'The Flag Outside Her Window' is also known as 'The Boys Marching By', making it clear that the young woman is watching one of the parades along Fifth Avenue that marked the anniversary of America's entry into the war. In preparing the canvas for the first exhibition of the flag paintings as a group, at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in New York City in November 1918, Hassam extended the canvas by an inch on all four sides and touched up some parts, adding vibrance to the reds and blues of the flag so as to match the others in the series.
The New York Window: 1912
The Flag, Fifth Avenue: 1918
The Garden Door: ca 1888
The Hawk's Nest: ca 1904
The Hovel and the Skyscraper: 1904
The Ledges: 1907
The Mackaye Spectatorium: ca 1893
James Morrison Steele MacKaye (June 6, 1842 - February 25, 1894) was an American playwright, actor, theater manager and inventor. Having acted, written, directed and produced numerous and popular plays and theatrical spectaculars of the day, he became one of the most famous actors and theater producers of his generation.
By 1885, MacKaye had established three theaters in New York City: the Saint James, Madison Square and the Lyceum Theater. For the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, he began to construct a theatre capable of seating 10,000 people-the "Spectatorium"-but the Panic of 1893 deprived the project of necessary funds. The project was left incomplete.
The Manhattan Club: ca 1891
The Norwegian Cottage: 1909
The Terre-Cuite Tea Set
(aka French Tea Garden): 1910
The White Dory: 1895
Winter in the Connecticut Hills: 1906
Woman Reading: 1885
Young Fishermen: 1882
Woodchopper: ca 1902
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