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Childe Hassam
The Bather by Childe Hassam

Circa 1905

About the Item

Childe Hassam 1859-1935 American The Bather Signed and dated “Childe Hassam” (lower right) Oil on canvas Considered by many to be America’s foremost Impressionist painter, Childe Hassam composed his tranquil and intimate oil on canvas The Bather in the early years of the 20th century. The creation of the artwork aligns with a period of Hassam’s career where the artist’s palette was transforming, matching ever closer with the pale and pastel hues of French Impressionists like Claude Monet. Even the subject — a nude woman — represents a greater alignment with the Impressionist project, as artists of the movement and their non-mythological and non-biblical nudes still generated cries of indecency. With Hassam’s signature brushwork and attention to color, The Bather serves as a dream-like vision, serene and sensuous, of a young woman bathing in a lush forest. While the artist's skill for landscape painting is on display, it is Hassam's command of form, light and color that brings this canvas to life. He creates a captivating composition, placing the nude subject in the bottom left of the canvas. The soft, undulating curves of the woman's body in contrapposto and the glow of her fair skin are balanced by the strong verticals and deep earth tones of the tall trees to her right. Hassam delicately frames the nude in the vivid blues of the distant water, building luminous color that further draws the viewer’s eye and results in a somewhat voyeuristic appeal — endowing his nude with both a natural innocence and an intentional sensuality. Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Childe Hassam began his artistic career as a freelance illustrator, working for national publications such as Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s Monthly, and The Century. His first solo exhibition of watercolors took place in Boston in 1883, and he quickly catapulted onto the international scene, winning a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. The year before the present work was created, he received the Webb Prize from the Society of American Artists for another landscape painted at Gloucester. Hassam would receive numerous other awards throughout his career, most notably the Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Fine Art from the American Dealers Association. A true master, Hassam depicted a way of life characteristic of both American and French society, and his work elucidates a critical chapter in American art history. Today, his work resides in the Oval Office of the White House and in numerous important museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others. This painting will be included in Stuart P. Feld's and Kathleen M. Burnside's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work. Circa 1905 Canvas: 24 1/2“ high x 20 18” wide Frame: 35 7/8“ high x 31 1/4” wide x 3 1/4“ deep Provenance: Private Collection of William Young Marsh, Esq., Williamstown, Massachusetts. Private Collection, Montreal, Canada. Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, Canada. Private Collection, Palm Beach, Florida. Christie’s, New York, 23 May 1996, lot 79, sold by the above. Private Collection. M.S. Rau, New Orleans.
  • Creator:
    Childe Hassam (1859-1935, American)
  • Creation Year:
    Circa 1905
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 35.88 in (91.14 cm)Width: 31.25 in (79.38 cm)Depth: 3.25 in (8.26 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
  • Gallery Location:
    New Orleans, LA
  • Reference Number:
    Seller: 31-61841stDibs: LU18611202752
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