Banks of the Seine, 1888

by Joseph Mallord William Turner


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 9 x 11 ins/ 22.86 x 27.94 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘Childe Hassam’ and dated (lower left)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 6319 Category: Tags: , , , ,

A charming work by the father of American Impressionism, Childe Hassam, ‘Banks of the Seine’ was painted during one of the artist’s many sojourns to Paris, from whence he drew his inspiration. This painting depicts a view along the towpath at the side of the famous French river, in a classically soft and delicate manner. The soft pastel colours and small, visible brushstrokes, invoke the feeling of a quiet spring morning.


Private Collection, Bronxville, New York;
Private Collection, New York

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Hassam began creating his earliest oil paintings in 1879, however he soon found his preferred medium as watercolour, predominantly of outdoor subjects. Following a three-year sojourn in Paris in 1889, he returned to the United States, and settled in New York City, where he became one of the most successful of the American impressionists. Strangely, he disliked the term impressionism intensely, and never acknowledged his debt to French painting and the impressionist masters that he so admired such as Monet and Pissarro. Instead, he saw himself as a devotee of the English masters: Turner and Constable. Yet, his light, sparkling palette, broken brushstrokes and unconventional subjects are unmistakably French-inspired, albeit with a generous helping of American realism.

At the height of his popularity, Hassam joined a number of other New York impressionists in forming a group called Ten American Painters or, more simply, ‘The Ten’. He was also a member of several artists’ organizations. His work was honoured by a number of prestigious institutions, including the National Academy of Design, the Carnegie Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

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