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John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902)
Property of an Estate
John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902)

From the Upper Terrace

Details
John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902)
From the Upper Terrace
signed 'J.H. Twachtman' (lower right)
oil on canvas tacked over board
25 x 30 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm.)
Painted circa 1893.
Provenance
The artist.
Estate of the above.
[With]Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1918.
Martin Ryerson, acquired from the above, 1919.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, 1919.
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pfeil, Chicago, Illinois, 1986.
[With]Vance Jordan Fine Art, Inc., New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1998.
Literature
American Art Galleries, Paintings, Pastels, and Etchings by J. Alden Weir and J.H. Twachtman, exhibition pamphlet, New York, 1893, n.p., no. 4 (as From the Terrace).
The Cincinnati Art Museum, Exhibition of Sixty Paintings by Mr. John H. Twachtman Formerly Resident in Cincinnati, exhibition catalogue, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1901, n.p., no. 37.
Palace of Fine Arts, Department of Fine Arts: Panama-Pacific International Exposition, exhibition catalogue, San Francisco, California, 1915, p. 75, no. 4070.
Macbeth Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by John H. Twachtman, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1919, n.p., no. 10, illustrated.
Macbeth Gallery, Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, 1892-1942, exhibition pamphlet, New York, 1942, n.p., no. 20.
S. Cheney, The Story of Modern Art, New York, 1950, p. 434, illustrated.
J.D. Hale, The Life and Creative Development of John H. Twachtman, Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1957, n.p., no. 621.
R.J. Boyle, A Retrospective Exhibition: John Henry Twachtman, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1966, p. 19, no 84.
R.J. Boyle, John Twachtman, New York, 1988, pp. 76-77, 84, pl. 28, illustrated.
D. Chotner, et al., John Twachtman: Connecticut Landscapes, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1989, p. 103, pl. 15, illustrated.
W.H. Gerdts, et al., Ten American Painters, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1990, pp. 128, 131, fig. 126, illustrated.
W.H. Gerdts, D.B. Dearinger, Masterworks of American Impressionism From the Pfeil Collection, exhibition catalogue, Alexandria, Virginia, 1992, pp. 30, 245-52, no. 78, illustrated.
L.N. Peters, John Twachtman: An American Impressionist, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1999, pp. 143, 146, no. 51, illustrated.
L.N. Peters, John Twachtman (1853-1902): A "Painter's Painter", exhibition catalogue, New York, 2006, pp. 11, 14.
Exhibited
New York, American Art Galleries, Paintings, Pastels, and Etchings by J. Alden Weir and J.H. Twachtman, 1983, no. 4 (as From the Terrace).
New York, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Ten American Paintings, March 1898.
New York, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Paintings and Pastels by John H. Twachtman, New York, March 1901.
Cincinnati, Ohio, The Cincinnati Art Museum, Exhibition of Sixty Paintings by Mr. John H. Twachtman Formerly Resident in Cincinnati, April 12-May 16, 1901, no. 37.
San Francisco, California, Palace of Fine Arts, Department of Fine Arts: Panama-Pacific International Exposition, February 10-December 4, 1915, no. 4070.
New York, Macbeth Gallery, Exhibition of Paintings by John H. Twachtman, January 1919, no. 10.
Montclair, New Jersey, Montclair Art Museum, Forty Years of American Painting, January 1933, no. 6.
Chicago, Illinois, Art Institute of Chicago, Century of Progress, June-November 1933, no. 483.
Chicago, Illinois, Art Institute of Chicago, Century of Progress, June-November 1934, no. 461.
New York, Macbeth Gallery, Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition, 1892-1942, April 1942, no. 20.
Cincinnati, Ohio, The Cincinnati Art Museum, A Retrospective Exhibition: John Henry Twachtman, October 7-November 20, 1966, no. 84.
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, and elsewhere, John Twachtman: Connecticut Landscapes, October 15, 1989-February 11, 1990.
Columbus, Georgia, Columbus Museum of Art, and elsewhere, Masterworks of American Impressionism From the Pfeil Collection, February 9-April 15, 1992, no. 78.
Cincinnati, Ohio, The Cincinnati Art Museum, and elsewhere, John Twachtman: An American Impressionist, June 6-September 5, 1999, no. 51.

Lot Essay

One of the most innovative painters of his day, John Henry Twachtman advanced the tenets of Impressionism further than the majority of his American contemporaries. With a goal of furthering progressive ideas in art, he was also an influential member of the Ten American painters, a group which he helped organize with the intention of promoting pure painting. "Twachtman's career was characterized by a spirit of experimentation," writes Lisa Peters. "He developed a highly individual style that responded to the artistic issues of his time, yet was never limited by them...[He] remained devoted to creating art that was personal, often defiant of the conventional." (John Henry Twachtman: An American Impressionist, Atlanta, Georgia, 1999, p. 9)

Twachtman's primary subject was nature. Along with the majority of his late landscapes, From the Upper Terrace was painted in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he created many of his most important and lasting images. He settled there in 1889, dedicating himself to depicting his home and gardens on Round Hill Road. These later works, including From the Upper Terrace, also tend to be among the artist's most artistically advanced paintings. The landscape elements are simplified and Twachtman compresses the foreground and background by using a high horizon line. The high vantage point forces the viewer to concentrate on the contours of the landscape, and to consider the organic relationship between his Greenwich home and the surrounding nature. "In this painting, the house, as the artist intended in remodeling it, is gently embraced by the landscape. Rather than intruding on the site, it takes on the colors of the garden. The meandering pathways suggest spontaneity, informality, and freedom." (John Henry Twachtman: An American Impressionist, p. 143) Twachtman renders his composition in a cool palette of greens, yellow, pale pinks, blues and chalky whites, and applies these hues with layers of horizontal and diagonal brushstrokes increasing the emphasis on pattern in the composition.

In works such as From the Upper Terrace, Twachtman established his most lasting legacy, a career that maintained both a mastery of nineteenth-century Impressionism and a willingness to advance pure painting toward abstraction, hinting at developments to come in the twentieth century. Shortly after Twachtman's death in 1902, the artist Thomas Wilmer Dewing remembered his friend by recognizing in his art "the most modern spirit...too modern, probably, to be recognized or appreciated at present; but his place will be recognized in the future." (as quoted in John Twachtman: An American Impressionist, p. 143)

This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of John Henry Twachtman by Lisa N. Peters, Ph.D. and Ira Spanierman.

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