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Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

A Walk in the Park

Details
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
A Walk in the Park
signed 'Childe Hassam' lower left
oil on canvas laid down on panel
15 x 21¾in. (38.1 x 55.3cm.)
Exhibited
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, The Discerning Eye, October-November 1974, no. 89

Lot Essay

Like many Impressionist painters, Childe Hassam painted works that depicted diverse aspects of urban life. While living in Paris during the late 1880s and then in New York in the 1890s and early 1900s, Hassam executed a series of Impressionistic paintings of parks. These urban oases provided welcome escape for city dwellers as well as refreshing subject matter for the painter.

A Walk in the Park, also known as Springtime in the Park, depicts a sloping pathway that meanders through a sun-filled hillside. Yellow flowers are scattered across the vivid green grass on either side of the walkway, and soft pink flowering shrubs are silhoutted against the briliant blue sky. A nurse pushing a wicker baby carriage with a sunshade is seen in the center foreground, while her charge--dressed in a white dress and cap--follows slowly behind. The child seems to stroll at a singular pace, pausing to examine the spring flowers at the side of the path. Hassam's brilliant sense of light and color evoke the warmth and pleasure of a spring day in a city park.

Unlike many of Hassam's other city views that celebrate bustling urban activity, A Walk in the Park focuses on an escape from that aspect of urban life. Hassam removes any reference to the city surrounding the park -- instead he highlights the natural world in the city as tamed and carefully refashioned by man. The pathway seen in A Walk in the Park is reminiscent of the curvilinear paths of New York's parks, a design that encouraged pedestrians to leave behind the din and dust of the city and immerse themselves in the natural scenery that surrounded them.

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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