Calypso

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
44 x 35 in. 52-3/4 x 44 in. (framed)
Credit line
Purchased with funds from Mrs. John M. Judah, Newton Booth Tarkington, Clarence Wulsin, Stoughton Fletcher, an anonymous donor, and the John Herron Fund
Accession number
11.80
Collection
Currently On View

The elusive qualities of sunshine and breezes are captured in Calypso’s flowing classical garb, the billowy clouds and brilliantly colored flowers.

In Greek mythology Calypso was the sea nymph who saved Odysseus from a shipwreck.

Hitchcock worked in Holland and became one of America’s leading expatriate painters.

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A Rare Mythological Subject in George Hitchcock’s Oeuvre

George Hitchcock was a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School. After an unsuccessful law career, he left the United States and spent the next decade studying in London, Paris, Dusseldorf, and The Hague. During the 1880s, Harrison settled in Holland and became one of America’s more well-known expatriate painters. His subjects included landscapes, floral studies, and peasants. His impressionistic paintings of brightly colored tulip fields in Holland, with Dutch peasant women in their magnificent costumes, were his favorite scenes.

This mythological subject is unusual in Hitchcock’s work. The sea nymph Calypso saved Odysseus from a shipwreck and detained him for seven years on her island with the promise of immortality. The figure of Calypso, clad in flowing classical garb, rises against a shallow backdrop of brilliantly colored flowers and billowing clouds. Capturing the elusive qualities of sunshine and gentle breezes, Hitchcock contrasts her fixed stance with the ever-changing effects of light and air.

Quick, Michael. American Expatriate Painters of the Late Nineteenth Century. Dayton: Dayton Art Museum, 1976.