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Dawson Dawson-Watson (1864-1939)
Property from the Terra Foundation for the Arts, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund
Dawson Dawson-Watson (1864-1939)

Among the Flowers, Giverny

Dawson Dawson-Watson (1864-1939) Among the Flowers, Giverny signed and dated 'Dawson-Watson. 1890.' (lower right) oil on canvas 28 x 35 in. (71.2 x 88.9 cm.)
Chicago, Illinois, Terra Museum of American Art, American Artists and the Paris Experience, 1880-1910, November 1997-March 1998.

Lot Essay

In his best Impressionist works from his years in Giverny from 1888 to 1893, Dawson Dawson-Watson developed his own signature style, incorporating traditional subject matter, skillful draftsmanship, and the bright palette and quick brushwork of the Impressionists. Born the son of British painter and illustrator John Dawson-Watson, he began studying art as a boy with his father and exhibited works at the Royal Academy in London while still in his teens. In Paris in 1887, Dawson-Watson continued his training in the academic style before meeting John Leslie Breck who invited him to Giverny in 1888.

According to David B. Dearinger, Dawson-Watson "refuted the idea that Monet 'was the drawing card of Giverny.' 'That may have been so in later years,' he recounted to Eliot Clark in 1929. 'But when the first group went it was not so, and when I went it was not so for the simple reason...that he was an unknown quantity and it was six months before I learned that he lived there.' This statement notwithstanding, Monet was hardly unknown to Dawson-Watson, who had admired Impressionism from his youth. He also remembered that 'as a student, I had three particular gods in painting: My father, who was one of the most brilliant men of his time, Mark Fisher, and Claude Monet." (W.H. Gerdts and D.B. Dearinger, Masterworks of American Impressionism from the Pfeil Collection, Alexandria, Virginia, 1992, p. 103)

Among the Flowers, Giverny reflects the charms of the region that so attracted Dawson-Watson and his fellow Americans. Here, an elegant woman drenched in Impressionist light stands among the vibrant blossoms, while the rolling clouds cast shadows on the picturesque thatched-roof house in the background. Among the Flowers also refects Dawson-Watson's thoughts that, "Nature is full of scintillating color & you want to feel that each object is surrounded by atmosphere." (as quoted in W.H. Gerdts, Monet's Giverny: An Impressionist Colony, New York, 1993, p. 61)


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