Cliff Rock - Appledore

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
29 x 36 in. (canvas) 40 x 48 in. (framed)
Credit line
John Herron Fund
Accession number
07.1
Collection
Currently On View

The free handling of paint, overlapping brush strokes, sun-bleached rocks and vibrant hues exemplify the Impressionist style.

Hassam is the most French-inspired American Impressionist in his use of vibrant colors, bright light and broken brushwork.

Purchased from the Inaugural Exhibition in 1906 by the John Herron Art Fund
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Childe Hassam's French Influence and American Style

"Like many American artists of the late 1800s, Childe Hassam studied in Paris, where he was exposed to Impressionist works firsthand. The preeminent American practitioner of the French Impressionist style, he employed European techniques to convey European sensibilities. His work is characterized by brilliant light, vivid color, and brushwork that articulates the forms within the scene, rather than dissolving subject matter into an array of strokes in the manner of the French Impressionists.

After returning to the United States, Hassam spent his summers painting along the Atlantic seaboard. Over the course of two decades, beginning in 1889, he returned to the rocky shores of Appledore, one of nine islands comprising the Isles of Shoals, located off the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine. With its broken brushwork, craggy shore, and broad expanse of sea, Cliff Rock - Appledore exudes a spirit like that of Claude Monet's coastal scenes of the mid-1880s. Hassam displays a confident, free handling, varying his brushwork from the loose treatment of the sun-bleached rocks, to the overlapping strokes and vibrant hues of the foreground water, to the more even texture and tone of the distant horizon. Hassam's emphasis on realism and the solidity of forms is characteristic of the American style of Impressionism."

Lee, Ellen Wardwell, Anne Robinson, and Alexandra Bonfante-Warren. Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2005, p. 141.

The New England Seascapes of American Impressionist Childe Hassam

Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1859, Childe Hassam favored New England coastal scenes and painted them in a manner considered to be the purest example of the American Impressionist movement. He pursued art as a teenager and worked in a wood-engraving shop, where he created the original drawings from which prints were made. His work appeared in Harper’s, Scribner’s, and Century magazines, which gave him financial security that would continue throughout his career. Hassam spent three years in France, attending the Académie Julian in Paris. During this period, he became aware of the French Impressionists. His work is characterized by brilliant light, vivid color, and brushwork that articulates forms rather than dissolving subject matter into an array of strokes in the manner of the French. After returning to the United States, Hassam spent his summers painting along the Atlantic seaboard. Over the course of two decades, beginning in 1889, he returned to the rocky shores of Appledore, one of nine islands comprising the Isles of Shoals, located off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine.

With its broken brushwork, craggy shore, and broad expanse of sea, Cliff Rock – Appledore exudes a spirit like that of Claude Monet’s coastal scenes of the mid-1880s. Hassam displays a confident free handling. He varies his brushwork from the loose treatment of the sun-bleached rocks, to the overlapping strokes and vibrant hues of the foreground water, to the more even texture and tone of the distant horizon. The impressionistic treatment of the sea and sun-drenched rocks on the coast of Maine shows the artist’s technical skill in handling pure color. The paint gives the illusion of sparkling light. Hassam’s emphasis on realism and the solidity of forms is characteristic of the American Impressionist movement.

Adelson, Warren, J. Cantor, William Gerdts. Childe Hassam: Impressionist. New York: Abbeville Press, 1999.

Weinberg, H. Barbara. Childe Hassam, American Impressionist. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Like many American artists of the late 1800s, Childe Hassam studied in Paris, where he was exposed to Impressionist works firsthand. The preeminent American practitioner of the French Impressionist style, he employed European techniques to convey European sensibilities. His work is characterized by brilliant light, vivid color, and brushwork that articulates the forms within the scene, rather than dissolving subject matter into an array of strokes in the manner of the French Impressionists.

After returning to the United States, Hassam spent his summers painting along the Atlantic seaboard. Over the course of two decades, beginning in 1889, he returned to the rocky shores of Appledore, one of nine islands comprising the Isles of Shoals, located off the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine. With its broken brushwork, craggy shore, and broad expanse of sea, Cliff Rock-Appledore exudes a spirit like that of Claude Monet's coastal scenes of the mid-1880s. Hassam displays a confident, free handling, varying his brushwork from the loose treatment of the sun-bleached rocks, to the overlapping strokes and vibrant hues of the foreground water, to the more even texture and tone of the distant horizon. Hassam's emphasis on realism and the solidity of forms is characteristic of the American style of Impressionism.

Before the day of the automobile [Appledore] was a famous summer resort. . . . In those far-off days I painted there . . . many pleasant summers.
-Childe Hassam, 1929