Childe Hassam USA
10-17-1859 Boston, USA - 8-27-1935 E. Hampton, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Childe Hassam's father claimed descent from a seventeenth-century English immigrant whose name, Horsham, had been corrupted over time to Hassam. With his dark complexion and heavily-lidded eyes, many took Childe Hassam to be of Middle Eastern descent.
By 1883, Hassam was exhibiting publicly and had his first solo exhibition, of watercolors, at the Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston. The following year, his friend Celia Thaxter convinced him to drop his first name Frederick and thereafter he was known simply as "Childe Hassam".
Having had relatively little formal art training, Hassam was advised by his friend Edmund H. Garrett to take a two-month "study trip" to Europe during the summer of 1883. Hassam and Garrett traveled throughout the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain, studying the Old Masters together.
Childe Hassam had moved to France so that he could study figure drawing and painting at the prestigious Académie Julian. Although he took advantage of the formal drawing classes with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre.
The pair returned to the United States in 1889, taking residence in New York City. He resumed his studio illustration and in good weather produced landscapes out-of-doors. He found a studio apartment at Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, a view that he painted in one of his first New York oils, Fifth Avenue in Winter.
After a trip to Havana, Cuba, Hassam returned to New York and had his first major one-man auction show at the American Art Galleries in 1896, which featured over 200 works that spanned his entire career to date. Hassam realized less than $50 per picture at the auction.
Back in New York in 1897, Hassam took part in the secession of Impressionists from the Society of American Artists, forming a new society known as The Ten. The group was energized if not initiated by Hassam, who was among the most radical of members.
With the art market now eagerly accepting his work, by 1909 Childe Hassam was enjoying great success, earning as much as $6,000 per painting.
The Hassams returned to Europe in 1910 to find Paris much changed. In the midst of the vibrant city, Hassam painted July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou during the Bastille Day celebrations, a forerunner of his famous Flag series.
When he returned to New York, Hassam began a series of "window" paintings that he continued until the 1920s, usually featuring a contemplative female model in a flowered kimono before a light-filled curtained or open window.
The most distinctive and famous works of Childe Hassam's later life comprise the set of some thirty paintings known as the "Flag series". He began these in 1916 when he was inspired by a "Preparedness Parade", which was held on Fifth Avenue in New York.
The Avenue in the Rain (1917), which has been in the White House permanent collection since the Kennedy administration. On entering the White House, Barack Obama chose to display it in the Oval Office.
Influences: William Morris Hunt, Gustave Boulanger, Jules Joseph Lefebvre
Traveled: England, Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Cuba, Mexico