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Artists Childe Hassam
Childe Hassam Photo

Childe Hassam

American Painter

Movements and Styles: The Barbizon School, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism

Born: October 17, 1859 - Dorchester, Massachusetts

Died: August 27, 1935 - East Hampton, Long Island, New York

Childe Hassam Timeline

Quotes

"If taken individually a skyscraper is not so much a marvel of art as a wildly formed architectural freak... It is when taken in groups with their zigzag outlines towering against the sky and melting tenderly into the distance that the skyscrapers are truly beautiful."
Childe Hassam
"I painted the flag series after we went into the war. There was that Preparedness Day, and I looked up the avenue and saw these wonderful flags waving, and I painted the series of flag pictures after that."
Childe Hassam
"I was always interested in the movements of humanity in the street... There is nothing so interesting to me as people. I am never tired of observing them in everyday life, as they hurry through the streets on business or saunter down the promenade on pleasure."
Childe Hassam
"I am often asked what determines my selection of subjects, what makes me lean towards impressionism. I do not know. I can only paint as I do and be myself, and I would rather be myself and work out my ideas, my vagaries, if you please, in color, than turn out Christmas cards and hire a clerk to attend to orders. I am often asked why I paint with a low-toned, delicate palette. Again I cannot tell. Subjects suggest to me a color scheme and I just paint."
Childe Hassam
"I made my sketches from nature in watercolor and I used no white. It was this method that led me into the paths of pure color. When I turned to oils I endeavored to keep my color in that method as vibrant as it was in watercolor."
Childe Hassam

"The portrait of a city, you see, is in a way like the portrait of a person... The spirt, that's what counts, and one should strive to portray the soul of a city with the same care as the soul of a sitter."

Childe Hassam Signature

Synopsis

Childe "Muley" Hassam enjoyed the mystery surrounding his moniker. Playing off the confusion from his surname as to whether he was of Arabic descent, Hassam adopted "Muley," a corruption of the Arabic word for "master," in reference to a 15th-century Moorish ruler who appears in Washington Irving's writings. The nickname is fitting, since Hassam's stature as one of the giants of American Impressionism has remained unchallenged since his death. Influenced greatly by French painters of the 1870s and 1880s, Hassam turned his art into an industry that mirrored the rapid industrialization of America at the turn of the 20th century. In hundreds of works, he strove to depict both the frenzied pace of city life as well as the unspoiled expanses of nature that provided a respite from the urbanization, propagating a certain pride in the nation's past as well as present.

Key Ideas

Hassam's work, like that of the French Impressionists, is intimately concerned with the interaction of light, weather, and surface, especially as they change with the movement of elements within the scene, and often in concert with the frenzied pace of modern urban life. But unlike the French, Hassam avoids uncomfortable political issues in favor of an optimistic view of American industriousness and rural charm.
Hassam treated his art much like a business, aggressively marketing himself and churning out canvases and works on paper by the carload, and gathering associations of artists around him to increase his notoriety. His efforts paid off, as he built a sizeable reputation and fortune over a career spanning more than fifty years.
While Hassam helped create a strand of Impressionism that was distinctly American, he remained connected with the European Art of the 1870s and '80s for the bulk of his career, and frequently maintained ties to foreign lands through his travels; the culmination of his patriotic internationalism is his series of flag paintings supporting the allied cause during World War I.
Hassam's devotion to Impressionism was impressive, as he steadfastly refused to adapt to the innovations in modern art coming from Europe starting in the 1910s, instead ridiculing non-representational abstraction in painting even after its acceptance as cutting-edge modernism by American critics in the interwar era.

Biography

Childe Hassam Photo

Childhood and Education

Frederick Childe Hassam's family had deep New England roots. His father was a cutlery salesman based in Boston whose ancestors arrived in America from England in the 17th century with a name that began as Horsham. This name went through a number of spelling changes before becoming Hassam, which would result in questions regarding the future artist's origin with some believing, much to Hassam's amusement, that he was Arabian.

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Childe Hassam Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Childe Hassam
Interactive chart with Childe Hassam's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Claude MonetClaude Monet
Georges SeuratGeorges Seurat
J.M.W. TurnerJ.M.W. Turner
James WhistlerJames Whistler
Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir

Personal Contacts

Celia ThaxterCelia Thaxter

Movements

The Barbizon SchoolThe Barbizon School
ImpressionismImpressionism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism

Influences on Artist
Childe Hassam
Childe Hassam
Years Worked: 1878 - 1935
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Maurice PrendergastMaurice Prendergast
Edward HopperEdward Hopper

Personal Contacts

Celia ThaxterCelia Thaxter
John Singer SargentJohn Singer Sargent

Movements

American ImpressionismAmerican Impressionism

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Peter Clericuzio

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Peter Clericuzio
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