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“An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir” by Childe Hassam

"An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir" by Childe Hassam

“An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir” by Childe Hassam

“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.

On returning to America, Hassam was influenced by the circle of William Morris Hunt, who, like the great French landscape painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, emphasized the tradition of working directly from nature.

He absorbed their credo:

“atmosphere and light are the great things to work for in landscape painting.”

Today Childe Hassam is seen as an essential artist in the development of American Impressionism.

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 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.

Childe Hassam

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.”

An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir

  • Title:              An Outdoor Portrait of Miss Weir
  • Artist:            Childe Hassam
  • Year:              1909
  • Medium:       Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:  38 in. x 38 in. (96.52 cm x 96.52 cm)
  • Museum:       Crocker Art Museum

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~~~

“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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