Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Property from the Estate of Judith D. Peabody
Childe Hassam (1859-1935)


Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
signed and dated 'Childe Hassam 1920' (lower center)--signed again with initials 'C.H.' and dated again (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
56 x 67 in. (142.24 x 170.2 cm.)
The artist.
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, by bequest, 1935.
[With]J.L. Hudson Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, 1968.
(Possibly) The Milch Galleries, New York.
Mrs. Taylor Dunnington, New York, acquired from the above.
By descent to the present owner.
J.L. Hudson Gallery, Childe Hassam: An American Impressionist, exhibition catalogue, Detroit, Michigan, 1968, n.p., illustrated.
New York, National Academy of Design, 98th Annual Exhibition, March 17-April 15, 1923, no. 249.
Detroit, Michigan, J.L. Hudson Gallery, Childe Hassam: An American Impressionist, February 22-March 16, 1968.

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

The varying coastline, rugged landscape and the quaint town of East Hampton attracted numerous artists throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. Childe Hassam was part of this group, finding the landscape and architecture of this quiet summer spot perfectly suited his style of Impressionism. Altheas from 1920 is an ambitious canvas by the artist that illustrates the hallmarks of his later style and moreover reveals the artist's love for the environs in which he lived.

Hassam first visited East Hampton in 1898 at the invitation of his friend and fellow artist Gaines Ruger Donoho. Over the next twenty years Hassam sporadically returned to Long Island during the spring and autumn as the guest of New York businessman Henry Pomroy. In 1919, Hassam and his wife Maude purchased an eighteenth century shingled cottage at 48 Egypt Lane. Affectionately called "Willow Bend," the house was sold to the Hassams by Donoho's widow who lived next door. The Hassams moved into "Willow Bend" in May of 1920 and remained in the house until October, a routine they would maintain for the rest of the artist's life.

While in East Hampton, Hassam sought inspiration from his surroundings and found beauty in the local architecture, the uneven coastline and the wild landscape of eastern Long Island. During his six month stays in East Hampton, Hassam produced a series of works that focused on his home and its surrounding landscape. Altheas is one such example depicting a warm, crystalline day. In this work, Hassam portrays a symmetrical composition of stately trees and althea bushes in full bloom and in the distance, a neighbor's clapboard house. The artist emphasizes the balance of the scene by the paths that bisect the landscape both vertically and horizontally.

Hassam's painting style later in his career focused more on the effects of color which was heightened by exaggerated brushwork. Donelson Hoopes remarks: "Hassam's postwar landscape paintings partake of this new freedom to experiment with color. Unlike his earlier works, these new pictures do not seek to approximate light of nature in an 'optically correct' way. Often his palette was set in an extremely high tonal key. In this arbitrary disregard for naturalism, Hassam displayed a pronounced attachment to color for its own sake, which when combined with the broad, mannered brushwork, renders the painting an object in its own right more than a picture of something in nature." (Childe Hassam, New York, 1988, p. 84) Altheas, composed of varying swatches and strokes of bright hues of greens, blues, pinks and lilac, changes from a formal recording of a backyard garden to an explosion of color, texture and light.

Altheas is a pictorial homage to not only the surrounding landscape in which the artist lived but the natural splendor that it was.

This painting will be included in Stuart P. Feld's and Kathleen M. Burnside's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.

More from Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

View All
View All