Today is the birth annivesary of Childe Hassam

Childe Hassam was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on October 17, 1855. His father was a successful Boston businessman who was ruined financially in the great fire of 1872. Hassam left high school without graduating and ended up working for a Boston wood engraver. As an artist, his formal studies were begun at the Boston Art Club (1878) and later continued at the Academie Julian in Paris (1886-1889). He was greatly influenced by Louis Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre. He attended drawing classes at the Lowell Institute, a division of MIT, and was a member of the Boston Art Club. The early portion of his artistic career were devoted to illustrations and watercolors. At the age of 23 Hassam was exhibiting publicly and had his first solo exhibition, of watercolors, at the Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts in 1892. From this time forward, Hassam was committed to the life of a professional painter. Recognition came early in both the U.S. and abroad. Hassam was extremely active in the social and technical areas of the artistic community. In 1890, he, and several others, founded the New York Water Color Club. He also joined the American Water Color Society and shortly thereafter joined the Players Club and the Society of American Artists. The fruition of this entrepreneurial fervor came about in 1897 when he helped establish the Ten American Painters, an exhibiting group that included many of the finest painters of the day: Frank W. Bensen, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Dewing, John Twachtman and J. Alden Weir.

Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Church at Old Lyme, 1924
Etching, 35 x 31 cm.
Gift of Robert North in memory of Marion de Mauriac North ‘32

Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
The Writing Desk, 1915
Etching, 32 x 24 cm.
Gift of Robert North in memory of Marion de Mauriac North ‘32

This is a portrait of Mrs. Hassam at Holley House, Cos Cob Connecticut. Hassam worked as a wood engraver early in his career, before his critical second trip to Europe in 1885. But it was well after establishing himself as America’s pre-eminent Impressionist painter that he turned to etching, in 1915 at the age of 56. This was the year he created The Writing Desk. This impression of The Writing Desk has a light airy quality. The movement provided by the flowery surroundings and fine strokes of etching provides a fascinating counterpoint to Mrs. Hassam’s thoughtful, contemplative mood.

Weinberg, H. Barbara (Helene Barbara), Childe Hassam, American impressionist / New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art ; New Haven : Yale University Press, c2004
“Childe Hassam, American Impressionist.” By: Weinberg, H. Barbara. American Art Review, Jul/Aug2004, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p118-176
“The Prints of Childe Hassam.” / Exhibit By: Denker, Eric; Cooper, Herbert L.. American Art Review, May/June 2003, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p92-95


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