Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935) Lady in a Garden 18 x 15in (Painted circa 1890.)

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Lot 49
Childe Hassam
(American, 1859-1935)
Lady in a Garden 18 x 15in

Sold for US$ 905,000 inc. premium

American Art

19 Nov 2014, 14:00 EST

New York

Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935)
Lady in a Garden
signed 'Childe Hassam' (lower left)
oil on canvas
18 x 15in
Painted circa 1890.


  • Provenance
    Mrs. Josephine P. Everett, Cleveland, Ohio.
    Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, bequest of the above, 1946.
    With Paul Kantor Galleries, Beverly Hills, California, 1969.
    Maxwell Galleries, Ltd., San Francisco, California, acquired from the above, 1969.
    Mrs. Jack Massey, Palm Beach, California, after 1972.
    With John H. Surovek Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida.
    Private collection, Florida.
    Private collection, Minnesota.

    Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery, and elsewhere, Childe Hassam: A Retrospective Exhibition, April 30-August 1, 1965, p. 26, no. 15 (as Spring Garden).
    Tucson, Arizona, University of Arizona at Tucson, University Art Museum, and elsewhere, Childe Hassam, 1859-1935, February 5-March 5, 1972, pp. 23-24, no. 10, illustrated (as Lady in a Flower Garden).
    San Francisco, California, Maxwell Galleries, Ltd., Recent Acquisitions, November 17-December 25, 1973, n.p., no. 43, cover illustration (as Lady in Flower Garden).
    Palm Beach, Florida, John H. Surovek Gallery, 30th Anniversary Catalogue, An American Collection, 2007, pp. 30-31, illustrated.
    Santa Barbara, California, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, n.d.

    U.W. Hiesinger, Childe Hassam: American Impressionist, New York, 1994, p. 90, fig. 94, illustrated.

    This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Hassam's work in preparation by Stuart P. Feld and Kathleen M. Burnside.

    Frederick Childe Hassam, born in 1859 to a Puritan family in Dorchester, Massachusetts, is arguably one of the most successful and well-known of the American Impressionists. His extensive oeuvre, ranging from oil paintings and watercolors to lithographs, construct a timeline of the artist's extensive travels and interests that include scenes of Europe, New York, Boston, and the vast coastline of New England.

    Perhaps the most beloved of all the places the artist visited is Appledore Island, the largest of the Isles of Shoals, just nine miles off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. Having grown up in Boston, Massachusetts, New England was home to Hassam and Appledore provided him with an enchanting escape from the tiresome pulls of the mainland. Even while traveling abroad, Hassam admitted that he missed the sunsets as seen from Appledore's shores. (S.G. Larkin, Hassam in New England, 1889-1918, p. 119) The stunning landscape and views was not the only attraction to the location for the artist. Like many, Hassam was also drawn to the eclectic mix of artistic people with whom he would spend time during his annual summer visits which occurred regularly from 1886 until 1894 and then occasionally until as late as 1916.

    During his time on the island, Hassam would stay at the home of Celia Thaxter, an avid patron of the arts and muse to the creative types that visited regularly. Thaxter's brother owned The Appledore House and she lived in the cottage behind his home, managing the large expanse of gardens that steadily drew people to the area. Her company became so highly sought after that artistic residents recalled the thrill of being invited to stay not at the inn but rather in the cottage itself. Thaxter would scrutinize the candidates quite comprehensively upon their visits, only inviting them once she deemed them worthy. Thaxter was responsible for the gardens surrounding their properties, but on the island there were many other gardens to explore.

    In the present work, Lady in a Garden, Hassam likely explored one of the many gardens that would have been available to him on the island. The scenery depicted further emphasizes the remote location that Appledore provided with the undefined space in the distance. The distinctive profile of the garden is not easily identified among Hassam's garden imagery. The foliage reaching to the upper expanse of the picture is reminiscent of the garden scenery in Thaxter's garden, yet the greenery depicted does not directly correspond with the vegetation she was known for. Folded into the thick foliage is a silhouette of a female figure, likely Mrs. Childe Hassam, who is delicately presented with quick, subtle brush strokes, creating a sense of light. The pale pink and blue hues that accent the composition are complimented by the greenery that generously fills the space.

    Hassam's artistic output during his trips to Appledore was immense and can be attributed to his strong relationship with Celia Thaxter. Unfortunately, Thaxter died in her home on Appledore in August of 1894. In the months before her passing, Hassam's season had been particularly fruitful, illustrating a collaborative book with Thaxter titled An Island Garden. The book contained full page chromolithographs produced from Hassam's watercolors which captured the abundance of accessible beauty on the island. The book was so successful that it boosted the artist's notoriety. From that point on, Hassam became financially independent – surviving entirely on the sale of his art without the necessity of commercial illustrations to support his lifestyle. Of the garden imagery produced by Hassam in his lifetime, there is never a subject with more subtle elegance than that of the gardens on Appledore Island.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the location of 1973 exhibition was Maxwell Galleries, Ltd.
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