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Childe Hassam – Virtual Tour

Childe Hassam - Virtual Tour

Childe Hassam – Virtual Tour

Childe Hassam (1859 – 1935) was an American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes. Along with Mary Cassatt, Hassam was instrumental in promulgating Impressionism to American collectors, dealers, and museums.

He produced over 3,000 paintings, oils, watercolors, etchings, and lithographs over the course of his career, and was an influential American artist of the early 20th century.

Childe Hassam’s most distinctive and famous works of Hassam’s later life comprise the set of some thirty paintings known as the “Flag series.”

Virtual Tour of Childe Hassam

Highlights Tour of Childe Hassam

An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir

“An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir” by Childe Hassam depicts one of J. Alden Weir’s three daughters. Hassam became close friends with fellow American Impressionist artists J. Alden Weir, whom he met through the American Water Color Society.

Childe Hassam depicted places of significance and painted people he knew. This portrait exemplifies Hassam’s Impressionist style, as he sought to invest Impressionism with an American spirit.

Hassam had relatively little formal art training when he joined a friend Edmund H. Garrett from Boston Art Club, on a two-month “study trip” to Europe during 1883.

They traveled throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, studying the Old Masters and creating watercolors. Hassam was impressed with the watercolors of J. M. W. Turner.

Museum:       Crocker Art Museum


Hassam was known to all as “Childe.”  His father was a  successful cutlery businessman with a large collection of art and antiques. He descended from a long line of New Englanders. His mother was a native of Maine, who shared an ancestor with American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Hassam demonstrated an interest in art early. He had his first lessons in drawing and watercolor while attending school, but his parents took little notice of his talent.

A disastrous fire in 1872 wiped out much of Boston’s commercial district, including his father’s business. Hassam left high school at age 17.  Hassam helped to support his family by working.

His father arranged a job in the accounting department, but Hassam studied the art of wood engraving and found employment with an engraver.

Beginning to paint artistically, his preferred medium was watercolor, mostly outdoor studies, and around 1879 began creating his earliest oils.

Museum:        National Gallery of Art

The Avenue in the Rain

“The Avenue in the Rain” by Childe Hassam depicts Fifth Avenue in New York City draped with US flags in the rain. Hassam completed around 30 paintings of streets decorated with flags between 1916 and 1919.

The painting is dominated by red and blue and whites colors of the American flag’s stars and stripes. Several dark figures beneath are holding umbrellas against the rain.

The flags in the background seem to be floating while the foreground flags fly from poles that project out from the buildings, which are not depicted in any detail.

The flags and dark figures are reflected on the wet rainy street and sidewalk. Hassam was influenced by two similar works of Claude Monet depicting French national celebrations with French Flags in Paris.

Museum:      White House 

Childe Hassam

Childe Hassam was inspired by French Impressionist paintings, which he viewed in museums and exhibitions. Hassam eventually became one of the group of American Impressionists known as “The Ten.”

The “Ten American Painters” was formed in 1898 to exhibit their work as a unified group. John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, and Childe Hassam were the driving forces behind the organization.

Dissatisfied with the American establishment’s conservatism, they created an exhibition society that valued originality, imagination, and exhibition quality. The Ten achieved success and lasted two decades before dissolving.

American Impressionism

American Impressionism was a painting style practiced by American artists in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. American Impressionism is a style of painting characterized by loose brushwork and vivid colors. 

Impressionism emerged as an artistic style in France in the 1860s. Exhibitions of French impressionist works in Boston, and New York in the 1880s introduced the style to America.

Some of the first American artists to paint in an impressionistic mode, such as Mary Cassatt, did so in the late 1880s after visiting France and being influenced by the French Impressionist.

Childe Hassam - Virtual Tour

“The Avenue in the Rain” by Childe Hassam, 1917


  • Title:              Self-Portrait
  • Artist:             Childe Hassam
  • Year:               1916
  • Medium:        Etching in black on wove paper
  • Dimensions:   Sheet: 4.1 × 25.4 cm (15 3/4 × 1 in.); Plate: 27.78 × 17.62 cm (1 15/16 × 6 15/16 in.)
  • Museum:        National Gallery of Art

Childe Hassam

Childe Hassam - Virtual Tour

“The Fourth of July” by Childe Hassam, 1916

A Virtual Tour of Famous Artists You Should Know

Childe Hassam

Frederick Childe Hassam: A collection of paintings

Frederick Childe Hassam: A collection of sketches

The Avenue In The Rain by Childe Hassam


“Art, to me, is the interpretation of the impression which nature makes upon the eye and brain.”
– Childe Hassam


Photo Credit: Colin Campbell Cooper / Public domain; Edwin Deakin / Public domain

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