Thomas Dunbar, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Purchased by Edwin C. Shaw, Akron, Ohio, 1922
Bequest to Akron Art Institute (Museum), 1955
2012 - : McDowell Galleries, 8/29/12 - , Akron Art Museum
2011 - 2012: "Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism" 10/9/11 - 2/5/12, Akron Art Museum
2007 - 2011: "Opening exhibition, McDowell galleries" 7/7/07 - 10/2/11, Akron Art Museum
2004 - 2006: "American Impressions: An Arcadian Vision: Paintings from the Akron Art Museum" 4/8/04 - 3/19/06, Organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions and Akron Art Museum: Tour
4/8/04 - 6/6/04, The Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida
9/17/04 - 11/28/04, University Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana
12/18/04 - 2/27/05, Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida
3/12/05 - 5/22/05, Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, California
6/4/05 - 9/5/05, The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, New York
10/8/05 - 12/4/05, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee
12/16/05 - 3/12/06, Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
2003: "In a Romantic Mood: American Impressionists and Their Era" 6/14/03 - 8/24/03, Akron Art Museum.
2001: "Selections form the Permanent Collection" 2/10/01 - 9/13/01,Akron Art Museum
1997 - 1998: "A 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Collection" 11/15/97 - 1/11/98, Akron Art Museum
1995: "A Legacy of Beauty: Paintings and Prints from the Edwin C. Shaw Bequest" 6/17/95 - 8/27/95, Akron Art Museum
1992: "Impressionism and Tonalism from the Akron Art Museum Collection" 9/12/92 - 11/8/92, Akron Art Museum (No. 8)
1991 - 1992: "Focus on the Collection: A 70th Anniversary Celebration" 11/3/91 - 1/5/92, Akron Art Museum
1989: "Turn-of-the-Century Paintings from the Permanent Collection" 2/17/89 - 8/13/89, Akron Art Museum (No. 6)
1988 - 1989: "American Paintings 1880 - 1917" 2/24/88 - 2/12/89, Akron Art Museum
1986: "The Edwin C. Shaw Collection of American Impressionist and Tonalist Painting" 4/19/86 - 6/29/86, Akron Art Museum
1984: "A 25th Anniversary Exhibition: Selected American Paintings" 5/25/84 - 7/22/84, Westmoreland County Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
1976: "Edwin Coupland Shaw Collection of American Paintings: Romanticism and Impressionism" 3/8/76 - 5/5/76, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC
1972: "Childe Hassam 1859 - 1935"
2/5/72 - 3/5/72, Univesity of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona
3/26/72 - 4/40/72, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
1965: "Childe Hassam Retrospective Exhibition" tour, organized by Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (No. 43)
4/30/65 - 8/1/65, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
9/28/65 - 10/31/65, The Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire
11/16/65 - 12/19/65, The Gallery of Modern Art, Newark, New Jersey
1956 - 1957: "Twenty-fifth Anniversary Exhibition" 11/29/56 - 1/2/57, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
1955: "The Edwin C. Shaw Collection of Paintings" 10/11/55 - 11/23/55, Akron Art Institute (Museum) (No. 18)
1926: "The Second Loan Exhibition of Paintings" 2/8/26 - 3/1/26, Akron Art Institute, Public Library Building
Signed LL "Childe Hassam 1908"
On verso of painting:
In black marker - "AAI 55-30"
Typed label - "55-3.../Child...1-55-193..."
On backing board: 1) typed label - "Gallery of Modern Art/ 707.65.37 Akron Art Ins/Hassam" and 2) in black marker - "A.A.I. 55.30"
Top center typed label - "The University of Arizona/Tuson, Arizona 85721/Museum of Art/Office of the Director/CHILDE HASSAM RETROSPECTIVE/ Feb. 5 - March 5, 1972"
Bedford Hills, 1908
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Bedford Hills exemplifies the Impressionist style of Childe Hassam. In 1886 the young painter traveled to Paris to study at the Académie Julian; while in France he was introduced to Impressionism. One of the earliest proponents of this movement in America, Hassam fused its technique and palette with his interest in American subject matter, both urban and rural. Returning from Europe in 1889, Hassam depicted the dynamic energy of New York in brightly colored canvases. During the summers he traveled regularly to the Isle of Shoals, where he painted some of his most memorable works in the gardens of Celia Thaxter.
In 1903 Hassam began to search for subject matter in New England, having discovered the charms of its rural landscape and colonial architecture. He became the acclaimed leader of the art colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut, and directly influenced the careers of a number of American painters. Bedford Hills may have been painted on the way to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where the artist and his wife went to visit the illustrator and painter Frederic Remington.1
Focusing upon several large elements in the composition—the river, a few trees, and a distant hill—Hassam fashioned a quiet rustic scene flooded with sunlight. He squeezed the paint directly from the tube, applying short, staccato brush strokes onto a grayish-white ground, or base coat, which occasionally shows through. In the river, for example, one can see the ground between individual slashes of bright blue pigment. Hassam interwove strokes of yellow, green, and violet with the blue of the water in order to suggest the reflection from the bushes and trees along the riverbank. When seen from a distance, these single brush strokes of different hues mix in the viewer’s eye to create colored shadows on the water. While Hassam’s painting depicts the landscape around the old town of Bedford in Westchester County, New York, the work is as much about the transitory effects of sunlight as it is about a specific location.
Like other American painters working in an Impressionist idiom, Hassam did not fully abandon traditional methods. Instead he merged Impressionist technique and color with a structured composition. For example, he rendered the distant hill on the right as a three-dimensional solid form. By painting the hill a dull gray-blue instead of the bright blue in the foreground, he represented a traditional recession into space, showing how the hill was affected by distance and atmosphere.
Hassam’s rural images, such as Bedford Hills, convey the beauty of rustic areas as well as his own deep feelings for the land. Along with his friends Julian Alden Weir (see pp. 68–69), Theodore Robinson, and John Twachtman, Hassam is credited for bringing Impressionism to America and transforming it into a unique pictorial style suitable for native subjects and American audiences.
- Jack Becker, 2001
1. Hoopes, 68.
Gerdts, William H. American Impressionism. New York: Abbeville, 1984.
Hiesinger, Ulrich W. Childe Hassam: American Impressionist. Munich and New York: Prestel, 1995.
Hoopes, Donelson F. Childe Hassam. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1979.