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Childe Hassam | Paris painting



In 1886, American painter Childe Hassam (1859-1935)🎨 had moved to France to study figure drawing and painting at the prestigious Académie Julian.
He took advantage of the formal drawing classes with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre🎨, but quickly moved on to self-study, finding that "the Julian academy is the personification of routine...[academic training] crushes all originality out of growing men. It tends to put them in a rut and it keeps them in it", preferring instead, "my own method in the same degree".

Childe Hassam 1859-1935 | American Impressionist painter | Paris nocturne

Childe Hassam 1859-1935 | American Impressionist painter | Paris nocturne

His first Parisian works were street scenes, employing a mostly brown palette.

He sent these works back to Boston and their sale, combined with that of older watercolors, provided him with sufficient income to sustain his stay abroad.
In the autumn of 1887, Hassam painted two versions of Grand Prix Day🎨, employing a breakthrough change of palette.
In this dramatic change of technique, he was laying softer, more diffuse colors to canvas, similar to the French Impressionists, creating scenes full of light, done with freer brush strokes.


He was likely inspired by French Impressionist paintings which he viewed in museums and exhibitions, though he did not meet any of the artists. Hassam eventually became one of the group of American Impressionists known as "The Ten".

Childe Hassam 1859-1935 | American Impressionist painter | Paris Street Scenes

Childe Hassam 1859-1935 | American Impressionist painter | Paris Street Scenes

The completed pictures he sent home also attracted attention.
One reviewer commented:
"It is refreshing to note that Mr. Hassam, in the midst of so many good, bad, and indifferent art currents, seems to be paddling his own canoe with a good deal of independence and method. When his Boston pictures of three years ago...are compared with the more recent work...it may be seen how he has progressed".


Hassam contributed four paintings to the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris, winning a bronze medal🎨.
At that time, he remarked on the emergence of progressive American artists who studied abroad but who did not succumb to French traditions:
The American Section...has convinced me for ever of the capability of Americans to claim a school. Inness🎨, Whistler🎨, Sargent🎨 and plenty of Americans just as well able to cope in their own chosen line with anything done over here...An artist should paint his own time and treat nature as he feels it, not repeat the same stupidities of his predecessors...The men who have made success today are the men who have got out of the rut.

Childe Hassam 1859-1935 | American Impressionist painter | Paris Street Scenes

As for the French Impressionists, he wrote "Even Claude Monet🎨, Sisley🎨, Pissarro🎨 and the school of extreme Impressionists do some things that are charming and that will live".
Hassam was later called an "extreme Impressionist".
His closest contact with a French Impressionist artist occurred when Hassam took over Renoir's former studio and found some of the painter's oil sketches left behind.
"I did not know anything about Renoir or care anything about Renoir. I looked at these experiments in pure color and saw it was what I was trying to do myself". | © Wikipedia















Pome completamento degli studi artistici già compiuti, il pittore Americano Childe Hassam🎨 si recò a Parigi nel 1886, per seguire corsi di pittura e disegno di figure umane all'Académie Julian, dove furono suoi maestri Gustave Boulanger e Jules Joseph Lefebvre🎨.
Tuttavia in seguito definirà "superflui" gli insegnamenti ricevuti: fu invece maggiormente influenzato dalle gallerie e dai musei che poté visitare nella città, negli anni della fioritura dell'Impressionismo.
Per quanto riguarda gli impressionisti francesi, scriveva:
Il suo contatto più stretto con un artista impressionista francese è avvenuto quando Hassam ha rilevato l'ex studio di Renoir🎨 e ha trovato alcuni degli schizzi di olio del pittore rimasti indietro.
  • "Non sapevo nulla di Renoir🎨 e non mi importava nulla di Renoir, ho guardato questi esperimenti a colori puri ed ho visto che era quello che stavo cercando di fare da solo".
Hassam ha contribuito con quattro dipinti alla Exposition Universelle del 1889 a Parigi, vincendo una medaglia🎨 di bronzo.





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