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Harry Wallace Methven
Henry Wallace Methven "Impressionist Landscape" Water, Trees Summer Reflection

1902

About the Item

SALE ONE WEEK ONLY Impressionist Landscape" is an exquisitely peaceful late summer scene along the banks of a quiet river. The dappling yellow and green leaves and the spots of blue sky give the perfect impressionistic feel to the scene. Impressionism was a style or movement in painting originating in France in the 1860s, characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment, especially in terms of the shifting effect of light and color. Methven captured this impression perfectly. It is as fresh today as when it was painted in 1902 so much so that you can almost hear the rustle of the leaves and see the shifting light. The gold gilt frame is original to the piece. Without the frame the piece measures 20 h x 16 w. It is signed by the artist. Methven was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the 1930's he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he painted with other area Chicago artists and showed at The Art Institute of Chicago. He spent his summers in Benton Harbor, Michigan, along Lake Michigan. He is known for his landscapes and water scenes. Michigan has numerous rivers, creeks and small lakes and Methven would have had a wealth of scenes to draw upon for his numerous oil paintings. He studied under Henry Fenton Spread who taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later founded Spread's Art Academy. In 1902, this academy became the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Spread was named the first president of the Chicago Society of Artists in 1889. Known primarily as a portraitist, Spread also painted landscape and genre scenes. Although a skilled artist, he did not exhibit widely; his primary legacy being fostering a love of art in Chicago. Fellow artist (and former student of Spread), Ralph Clarkson, the noted Chicago society portrait painter, stated that Spread' s "fine and advice formed the careers of the men who were not only to achieve prominence as artists, but to occupy leading places as art teachers". Harry Wallace Methven was one of those men and became an art teacher. Both Methven and Spread resided in Paris during their careers and it is reported that it was in Paris that Methven took classes with Spread. Methven was a member of the Alliance of American Artists in Paris (AAA) were he lived as an expatriate for twenty years. Methven also studied under the famous American painter, John Henry Twachtman, best known for his impressionist landscapes. Though his painting style varied widely through his career, art historians consider Twachtman's style of American Impressionism to be among the more personal and experimental of his generation. He was a member of "The Ten", a loosely allied group of American artists dissatisfied with professional art organizations, who banded together in 1898 to exhibit their works as a stylistically unified group. It is also reported that Methven studied under Kenyon Cox while living in Boston. They have both been associated with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where Methven attended classes and Cox taught at one time. James Carroll Beckwith was another famous American painter during this period and is considered another of Methven’s teachers. Beckwith was in Chicago for a period of time painting a mural on one of the domes in the Liberal Arts Building at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It may have been during this time that he also taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and had Methven as a student. It appears there is a discrepancy in Methven's birthdate sometimes being given 1864 and other times 1875. The 1864 date is most frequently quoted in historical notes regarding Methven making him about 38 when "Impressionist Landscape" was painted.
  • Creator:
    Harry Wallace Methven (1864 - 1947)
  • Creation Year:
    1902
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 29.5 in (74.93 cm)Width: 25.5 in (64.77 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
  • Gallery Location:
    Detroit, MI
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU128616051322
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