1973-3-1_p2_2008.jpg

Childe Hassam, Lady in the Park, 1890. Oil on canvas. Gift of Katherine Trees Livezey 1973-3-1
Childe Hassam, Lady in the Park, 1890. Oil on canvas. Gift of Katherine Trees Livezey 1973-3-1
Childe Hassam
1890

14 1/4 x 18 inches

Like Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam began as an illustrator for magazines, including Harpers and Scribners.

His early paintings reflect contemporary styles: the realism of Winslow Homer, the tonalism of George Inness, and the romanticism of the Hudson River School. In the spring of 1886, Hassam moved to Paris to study impressionism.

Hassam and other American artists sought to reconcile the realist tradition with impressionistic color and light, which made their work generally quite different from that of their French sources. Hassam's paintings after his stay in Paris are typical of American impressionism in the restraint of their color and brushwork. He was one of the American painters included in the celebrated and, by some accounts, notorious International Exhibition of Modern Art of 1913 (later referred to as the Armory Show).

Lady in the Park, painted after Hassam's return to New York in 1890, shows a woman approaching the viewer on a wide, tree-lined walk along an urban park, the pink of her slim skirt echoing the roses on her hat. In the sun-filled scene, the bright sidewalk and street recede to a hazy background of aqua-blue buildings and carriages. The composition is paced out by the diminishing verticals of streetlamps and the trunks of slender, leafless trees, and balanced by diagonal blue shadows.

Text by Robert B. Smith and Catharine Sprugel, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008

1940-1-3_p2_2008.jpg

Winslow Homer, Cerney-La-Ville-French Farm, 1867. Oil on panel. Gift of Merle J. and Emily N. Trees 1940-1-3
Winslow Homer, Cerney-La-Ville-French Farm, 1867. Oil on panel. Gift of Merle J. and Emily N. Trees 1940-1-3
Winslow Homer
1867

10 3/4 x 18 1/4 inches

Winslow Homer's sole artistic training was an apprenticeship to a Boston lithographer. He then worked as a freelance illustrator, first for Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, and then documenting the Civil War for Harper's Weekly.

After the war, Homer began painting and was soon made a member of the National Academy. He made his first trip abroad from 1865 to 1867, when his Prisoners from the Front (1866) and The Bright Side (1865) were shown at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris. While in France he executed 19 paintings, Cernay-la-Ville–French Farm among them, and three illustrations. Homer's stay abroad, however short, presents a problem in art-historical scholarship. His susceptibility to European art has largely been dismissed in the critical literature, which has favored a narrative in which Homer is a uniquely American master untainted by foreign influences.

Cernay-la-Ville–French Farm is a small oil painting on a mahogany panel. The composition is simple and balanced. A cluster of distant buildings, reduced to geometric essentials, sits on a low horizon within the landscape. The scene is generalized, with very few details, and there is a certain hardness in the delineation of forms. Homer's brushstrokes are quick and active, suggesting rapid execution, perhaps en plein air, or "in the open air." They draw attention to the process of painting itself. The painting lacks conventional finish and patches of the mahogany show through in places. Although Homer has painted a rural landscape, he gives it none of the sentimental or emotional content common in landscapes of the nineteenth century.

Text by Stacy Fuessle, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008