Childe Hassam Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
10-17-1859 Boston, USA - 8-27-1935 E. Hampton, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Frederick Childe Hassam's father was a descent from one of the early English settlers who came to America in the seventeenth-century whose name, Horsham, but over time somehow had been changed to Hassam. With his dark complexion and heavily-lidded eyes, many took Childe Hassam to be of Middle Eastern descent.
Having had little formal art training, his friend Edmund Garrett suggested to Hassam to take a two-month "study trip" to Europe during the summer of 1883, to learn more about the great paintings. Hassam and Garrett had an exhaustive travel schedule throughout the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain, studying the Old Masters together in all the art capitals of Europe. On their return, Hassam had his first solo exhibition of watercolor paintings in Boston. The next year, his companion Celia Thaxter persuaded him to drop his first name Frederick and only use the more interesting name, Childe Hassam.
Childe Hassam moved to France in 1886 with the goal of studying live figure drawing and painting at the prestigious Académie Julian. He took formal drawing classes with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre. But found the instruction too stifling, so he decided to continue with his own self-study of art.
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 small studio apartment at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, from his window he painted one of his first New York oils, the bustling 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 auctioned the paintings for about $50 per picture, which by today's money is about $1,300. Because of the great depression of '86, he did not sell many and decided to return to Europe for a year.
Back in New York in 1897, Hassam participated in the withdrawal of Impressionists from the Society of American Artists, forming a new society known as The Ten. The gathering was empowered if not started by Hassam, who was among the most radical of members.
With the art market now accepting his work, by 1909 Childe Hassam was enjoying great success, earning as much as $6,000 per painting, which is a huge sum, the equal of $155,000 today.
Hassam returned to Europe in 1910 to discover Paris quite changed. In the middle of the lively city, Hassam painted July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou during the Bastille Day celebrations, this painting was to be a forerunner of his famous U.S. Flag series.
When he came back to New York, Hassam began a series of "window" paintings that he continued until the 1920s, highlighting a pondering female in a flowered Japanese kimono next to a light-filled window.
The most distinctive and celebrated 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 seeing all the flags fluttering for The Fourth Of July 1916 Preparedness Day parade held on Fifth Avenue in New York. But, the real forerunner to the flag series was the one he had painted in Paris, years earlier.
Barack Obama became President he wanted The Avenue in the Rain, which has been in the White House permanent collection since the Kennedy administration hung in the Oval Office.
Art Movement: Impressionism
Artists Influencing Childe Hassam: William Morris Hunt, Gustave Boulanger, Jules Joseph Lefebvre
He Traveled To England, Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Cuba, Mexico