Another Unexpected Find

Over time, we’ve come to realize that A Pathway In Monet’s Garden  is too big for the dining room.  (It was originally intended for the living room, but plans changed and a better thing was found.)

So yesterday morning we decided to mothball the Monet, and put something else up in its place.  So off we went to iCanvas, my favorite place to buy art online.  Rather than getting just another Monet (there are four in the house currently), we decided to look instead at Impressionist paintings set in portrait format rather than landscape, with no regard to the artist.  Hours passed by, paintings considered and then discarded (wrong color, wrong mood, wrong style, etc.) until we stumbled onto this:

5th Avenue New York, 1891, by Childe Hassam

Wait a moment.  Who is this “Childe Hassam?”  I’d never heard of him/her (him, actually), so I went to his page at iCanvas and looked at his works, which numbered over a hundred.  I like almost all of them — which meant I had to look to see whose work I was enjoying so much… hello, Wikipedia.

Wait… an American Impressionist?  And I had never heard of him before?  And (wait for it) his paintings were all done during the late 19th- and early 20th century, which as any fule kno is my favorite period of history;  and in all, he produced over three thousand  works… BINGO!

What I like about Hassam is not just his technique, which is excellent, but also his choices of subject matter.  Unlike many Impressionist painters (hello Monet and Cezanne), Hassam painted a dizzying variety of subjects:  landscapes, cityscapes, models, you name it;  he used both watercolors and oils (!) and over all that, he also covered a multitude of colors and moods.  Here’s A Room Of Flowers :

Gloucester Harbor :

Cloud Front, Maine :

…and in one of many abrupt changes of both topic, color and mood, Taxi Rank on Rue Bonaparte  (which I love but The New Wife doesn’t, alas):  

…and continues the theme with Rainy Day, Boston :

Yes indeed:  our American painter didn’t restrict himself to the U.S.A. at all (although he painted the New England and Pacific Northwest seascapes, to name but two).  Rather, his work also covers France, Italy, and all points in between.  Wherever he found himself, he painted it.  To our great advantage.

Because if you like Impressionism but can only see so many paintings of haystacks (ahem), I bet you’ll find a Hassam painting that will be right up your street.  Maybe like this one, The Water Garden

…or even Church At Old Lyme, Massachusetts (of which, unusually, he painted several seasonal variations): 

…never mind his patriotic “Flag” series, like for example Fourth of July, 1916

…or the sublime Watching The Boys March By, 1918 :
…which is also sometimes called The Flag Outside Her Window.

I like this artist.  I like him a lot.

Self Portrait, 1914

Oh, and for people (like me) who loathe Modernism, allow me to quote his attitude thereon:

He denounced modern trends in art to the end of his life, 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.

“Art Booby”… I am so  going to steal that for myself.

19 comments

  1. Live and learn.. had never heard of him. Very interesting and some lovely looking works, even if I will have to overlook his judgements on my regular visits to the Tate Modern in London and my affinity for Dali.

    His Rainy Day in Boston is very redolent of a pre-war painting of Manchester, England my mother has.

  2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wonderful book of his work and life, I highly recommend it.

    And while his name sounds anything but American, he sure was. (Hassam was a corruption of the name Horseham). An amazing talent who, apparently, is not that well known!

  3. I’ve always been a fan of the American Impressionists over the better known French ones. Hassam is one of the better ones, but there are many to choose from. Years ago I was sniffed at in a NYC gallery for mis-pronouncing his, very American, name. That only cemented my appreciation of Hassam and my loathing of New Yorkers, rube that I was.

  4. Dining room?
    This one, of course: “Gloucester Harbor”

    It’s got color, but not too much, depth, pulling the viewer into the picture, interest, causing the viewer to loiter, captivated, pondering. BE the pedestrian in the foreground.

    BTW, how big is your “A Pathway In Monet’s Garden”?

  5. Being from NY I have seen and enjoyed the paintings of Childe Hassam.

    Hassams’ style lends itself nicely to the general mood that one gets in NYC on a rainy blustery day…and that is one of the neat things about the plethora of styles and palettes etc., in the art realm. There is virtually something by someone, somewhere whether famous or obscure that can appeal to everyone’s taste.

    ….but just don’t try to make a living at it, unless you are a virtual Childe Hassam.

  6. “Cloud Front, Maine” caught my eye. First look brings to mind any of Van Gogh’s “Starry” series – instead of stars Hassam chose clouds.

    Not related to works mentioned, a personal favorite is “Bathers on the Chorillos Beach in Miraflores, Lima, Peru” by Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). Remarkable that the landscape has little changed.

    An artist I really know nothing about is David FeBland. Long forgotten how, but on the ‘Net I came across what I presume to be his painting of a bar scene in ’60’s-’70’s era Vietnam. Never made Saigon or any “metro” area but I reckon it to be Tu Do Street. Best title I’ve found is “Luminous” but a search reveals zilch.zero. Keep a .jpg of the flic on my machine and occasionally visit the bar’s sanctuary. Brings to mind a line from a Jim Webb novel; ” ….and as the days unfold into years that are forever lost, each morning I awaken and remember that bright, faraway Asian hotel, which if life had been different, might have been my refuge in the cruel November that steadily approaches.”

  7. in 2009 I took 1/2 of my fathers ashes back to his hometown in Germany, and visited aunts, uncles and cousins in England, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, and, and. Most hectic week of my life ever.

    Wifey insisted we recuperate for a week in Madrid.

    She wanted to see art. I hated art. God, was I stupid. I hated impressionists. Double plus stupid. She dragged me out…Prado! Thyssen! Boom, boom went my brain.

    https://www.museodelprado.es/en/whats-on/exhibition/manet-in-the-prado/a5c68eaa-c38b-4884-b9a5-82b9864eba15

    https://www.museothyssen.org/en/exhibitions/impressionism-and-open-air-painting-corot-van-gogh

    Been at it ever since.

    Amsterdam. https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio/styles/impressionism, and the Hermitage Amsterdam.

    London. https://courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/collection/impressionism-post-impressionism

    Nice to see a fellow addict.

  8. I am going to have to find a place for Fourth of July, 1916, somewhere.

    The trick will be blending it with what I already have, which is mostly Ansel Adams and M.C. Escher.

  9. Scheisse. I’m off to Lunnon on Wednesday, having planned to see the impressionists at the Courtauld.

    I just discovered that they have closed their gallery for renovations and the impressionist paintings are in Paris.

    Fuddle-duddle.

  10. I really can’t appreciate most art. Most of it bores me to tears.

    There’s a few of them up there though…

  11. “The New Wife”

    It’s none of my business, I know, but I seem to have missed some important news.

    1. Never mind, I found it.
      A most hearty, and belated, congratulations to you.

      And condolences to the new missus (wink emojie-thingumacallit here).

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