About the Artist: Frederick Childe Hassam

Childe Hassam was a leading American impressionist painter and printmaker. The son of a prosperous hardware merchant and antique collector, Hassam (christened Frederick Childe Hassam) was born in 1859 near Boston. In 1872 a great fire in Boston destroyed his father’s business, forcing Hassam to leave school. He found a job with a publishing firm, but having little talent for business, he began work as an apprentice to a wood engraver and later created illustrations for such magazines as Harper’s and The Century. Between 1877 and 1879, Hassam attended evening classes at the Boston Art Club, studied briefly with William Rimmer at the Lowell Institute, and also took private painting lessons.

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At the age of twenty-four, Hassam visited Great Britain and the European Continent for two months. In 1886 he moved to Paris, where he studied at the conservative art school, Académie Julian. Hassam was attracted to French Impressionism, however, and readily absorbed elements of the avant-garde style. Hassam returned to the United States in 1889, moving from Boston to New York. Integrating his understanding of impressionism with his own tendency toward clear compositional structure and forms, he painted many views of the city. Noted for their light impressionist colors, quick brushstrokes, and also their solidity, his city views were well received, and he became known as one of the leading American impressionists. Hassam was able to return to Europe twice between 1897 and 1910, visiting Pont-Aven, where many Post-Impressionists had painted, and, on his last trip, southern Spain. In late 1897, he withdrew from the Society of American Artists and co-founded the Ten American Painters with fellow American Impressionists J. Alden Weirand John Twachtman.

In 1915, influenced in part by the work of his friend Weir, Hassam began experimenting with etching and, two years later, lithography. In 1920, having summered at various seaside resorts since 1882, he established a permanent summer studio in East Hampton, Long Island. During the remaining fifteen years of his life, Hassam continued to exhibit regularly, enjoying national recognition and receiving numerous awards and honors.

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(Information Credit: phillipscollection.org)

Clyde Singer: “March at the Whitney”

“March at the Whitney” by Clyde Singer. Canton Museum of Art

Clyde Singer was born in the small town of Malvern in 1908 and grew up in the rural hills of Ohio. Educated in the local public schools, he had an early interest in art and, after high school, attended the school at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. In 1933 he received a scholarship to the Arts Students’ League in New York City where his mentors were “American Scene” painters John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton. During his seven years in New York City, Singer developed a friendship with artist John Sloan, one of “The Eight” of the Ashcan School, a group of artists who painted gritty urban scenes and preceded the American Scene.

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Primarily oils and watercolors, Singer’s early work focused on rural and small-town life in Ohio. Later in his career his art shifted to scenes of contemporary urban life. In 1940 Singer became the assistant director at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, and, except for military service during World War II, remained there until his death in 1999. Singer completed more than 3,000 paintings during his career and is best known for his American Scene paintings.

Singer’s paintings are part of the permanent collections of many museums throughout the United States, and his work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Corcoran Gallery, the Chicago Art Institute, the National Academy of Design, the Massillon Museum, the Canton Museum of Art, and the Butler Institute of American Art.

With 120 full-color reproductions of his paintings, as well as photographs of the artist at work and with his friends and family,Clyde Singer’s America places the artist in the context of his time and makes his work available to a new and appreciative audience.

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(Information credit: kentstateuniversitypress.com)

Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis: US Navy Art Collection

“Bonhomme Richard vs. Serapis” by Anton Otto Fischer. US Navy Art Collection.

During the American Revolution, the U.S. ship Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, wins a hard-fought engagement against the British ships of war Serapis and Countess of Scarborough, off the eastern coast of England.

Scottish-born John Paul Jones first sailed to America as a cabin boy and lived for a time in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where his brother had a business. He later served on slave and merchant ships and proved an able seaman. After he killed a fellow sailor while suppressing a mutiny, he returned to the American colonies to escape possible British prosecution. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775, he traveled to Philadelphia and was commissioned a senior lieutenant in the new Continental Navy. He soon distinguished himself in actions against British ships in the Bahamas, the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel.

The piece above is by Anton Otto Fischer and is available for custom reproduction on RequestAPrint.

In August 1779, Jones took command of the Bonhomme Richard and sailed around the British Isles. On September 23, the Bonhomme Richard engaged the Serapis and the smaller Countess of Scarborough, which were escorting the Baltic merchant fleet. After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval signal indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting it was the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough that surrendered. After the victory, the Americans transferred to the Serapis from the Bonhomme Richard, which sank the following day.

Jones was hailed as a great hero in France, but recognition in the United States was somewhat belated. He continued to serve the United States until 1787 and then served briefly in the Russian navy before moving to France, where he died in 1792 amidst the chaos of the French Revolution. He was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1905, his remains were located under the direction of the U.S. ambassador to France and then escorted back to the United States by U.S. warships. His body was later enshrined in a crypt at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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(Information Credit: history.com)

About the Artist: Norman Rockwell

“The Street was Never the Same Again” by Norman Rockwell. Detroit Historical Society.

Born Norman Percevel Rockwell in New York City on February 3, 1894, Norman Rockwell knew at the age of 14 that he wanted to be an artist, and began taking classes at The New School of Art. By the age of 16, Rockwell was so intent on pursuing his passion that he dropped out of high school and enrolled at the National Academy of Design. He later transferred to the Art Students League of New York. Upon graduating, Rockwell found immediate work as an illustrator forBoys’ Life magazine.

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By 1916, a 22-year-old Rockwell, newly married to his first wife, Irene O’Connor, had painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post—the beginning of a 47-year relationship with the iconic American magazine. In all, Rockwell painted 321 covers for the Post. Some of his most iconic covers included the 1927 celebration of Charles Lindbergh’s crossing of the Atlantic. He also worked for other magazines, including Look, which in 1969 featured a Rockwell cover depicting the imprint of Neil Armstrong’s left foot on the surface of the moon after the successful moon landing. In 1920, the Boy Scouts of America featured a Rockwell painting in its calendar. Rockwell continued to paint for the Boy Scouts for the rest of his life.

The 1930s and ’40s proved to be the most fruitful period for Rockwell. In 1930, he married Mary Barstow, a schoolteacher, and they had three sons: Jarvis, Thomas and Peter. The Rockwells relocated to Arlington, Vermont, in 1939, and the new world that greeted Norman offered the perfect material for the artist to draw from. Rockwell’s success stemmed to a large degree from his careful appreciation for everyday American scenes, the warmth of small-town life in particular. Often what he depicted was treated with a certain simple charm and sense of humor. Some critics dismissed him for not having real artistic merit, but Rockwell’s reasons for painting what he did were grounded in the world that was around him. “Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn’t the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it,” he once said.

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(Information credit: biography.com)

Robert Vonnoh: In Flanders Field – Where Soldiers Sleep and Poppies Grow

“In Flanders Field – Where Soldiers Sleep and Poppies Grow” by Robert Vonnoh. The Butler Institute of American Art

In the development of American Impressionism, Robert Vonnoh is significant both as a painter and as a teacher. He was one of the earliest painters to bring European impressionism to America and his canvases had cool tones and balanced compositions with much capturing of light and atmosphere. He completed more than 500 commissioned portraits, and he had a distinguished teaching career in Boston and Philadelphia.

Vonnoh was born in 1858 in Hartford, Connecticut and raised in Boston. He studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in 1875, and attended the Academie Julian in Paris in 1880. There he studied with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre. In 1883, he returned to Boston where he taught at the Cowles School in 1884 and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1885.

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Vonnoh studied French Impressionism and was impressed by Claude Monet, whose influence can be seen in his works of colorful landscapes and bright flowers. His painting at this time also demonstrates the dichotomy of many American Impressionists. Some of his works are almost Fauvist, with raw brilliant colors and paint laid on with wide brushes or palette knife, as in his painting “Poppies” in 1888. Other works from about the same time are done almost entirely in neutral tones, as in “Companion of the Studio”, a solid three-dimensional portrait of John C. Pinhey, who was a fellow student at the Julian Academy.

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(Information Credit: gratzgallery.com)