Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Property from a Significant Private Collection
Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

The Audition, East Hampton

Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
The Audition, East Hampton
signed and dated 'Childe Hassam 1924' (lower right)--signed with initials, dated again and inscribed with title (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
36 x 38 in. (91.5 x 96.5 cm.)
Painted in 1924.
The artist.
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, bequest from the above, 1935.
[With]Milch Galleries, New York, 1961.
Senator William Benton, New York, acquired from the above, 1962.
Louise Benton Wagner, Fairfield, Connecticut and Chicago, Illinois, by descent.
Estate of the above; sold, Christie's, New York, 25 April 2002, lot 36.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Milwaukee Art Center and Minneapolis, Minnesota, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Encyclopedia Britannica Collection of Contemporary American Paintings, July 15-November 12, 1946.
Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Atheneum and Osaka, Japan, 1970 World Exposition, Encyclopedia Britannica Pavilion in American Park, The Benton Collection: 20th Century American Paintings, 1970-71, no. 17.
Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona Museum of Art and Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Childe Hassam 1859-1935, February 5-April 30, 1972, pp. 131, 144, no. 120, illustrated.

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Lot Essay

During the early 1900s, Childe Hassam and his wife Maude began to make frequent visits to stay with friends Harry and Gwendolyn Pomroy who were residents of Wainscott, Long Island. The picturesque views and the daily life of Long Island inspired Hassam to create many wonderful paintings of coastal scenes and village life. Eventually, in 1919, Hassam and his wife purchased an eighteenth-century shingled house on Egypt Lane in East Hampton which they warmly referred to as Willow Bend. Hassam worked at Willow Bend every summer from mid-May to early November until 1934.

The Audition, East Hampton depicts female figures reading scripts in Hassam's garden in East Hampton, while a horse and rider canter by in the distance. Hassam devoted many paintings to the theme of leisure and often featured young women in repose or social activity. In his later works like The Audition, East Hampton, Hassam experimented with texture and color in a new way. Donelson Hoopes remarks, "The brilliant surface manipulation of pigment that is the prominent characteristic of the Flag Series paintings of 1916 to 1918 was an intermediate step to Hassam's late stylistic development away from realism toward a much more decorative use of color than he had ever before employed...Hassam's postwar landscape paintings partake of this new-found freedom to experiment with color. Unlike his earlier works, these 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)

We would like to thank the Hassam catalogue raisonné committee for their assistance with cataloguing this work.

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

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