Lot 129
Lot Has Ended
Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

California

Price Realised: USD 137500.00
Estimate : USD 80,000 - 120,000
Description

Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
California
signed and dated 'Childe Hassam 1919' with artist's crescent device (lower left)--signed again with initials, dated again and inscribed with title (on the reverse)--inscribed with title again (on a label affixed to the stretcher)
oil on canvas
24 x 43 in. (61 x 109.2 cm.)
Painted in 1919.

Lot Notes

We would like to thank the Hassam catalogue raisonné committee for their assistance with cataloguing this work.

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


Though primarily known for his East Coast scenes, Childe Hassam journeyed to the West Coast of the United States several times throughout the course of his career, and represented the diverse and rugged landscape of that region with deftness and care in works such as California. After traveling to Oregon, Idaho and Washington in the early years of the twentieth century, Hassam first visited California in 1914 in order to install his mural, Fruits and Flowers, at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, which took place the following year. Including the present work, only about a dozen works inspired by his travels there have been discovered.

Hassam’s experiences in California were dominated by interactions with Impressionist artists of the area, spending much of his time painting en plein air at sights like Point Lobos in Carmel-by-the-Sea. For example, Hassam accompanied California landscapist Francis J. McComas on a sketching trip to Carmel, which likely inspired Point Lobos, Carmel (1914, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California). "Carmel was a favorite painting locale for artists, but Hassam may have found it especially attractive because it reminded him of his beloved Appledore in New England. Northern California shares with Maine a rugged coastline, and Hassam seems to have approached both shores in similar terms. He focused on the weather-hewn boulders, constructing them with the same forceful, short, vertical and diagonal brushstrokes and rich, contrasting, dark and light hues that appear in his Maine paintings. Only the cypress...alludes to a western locale. When a group of Hassam’s California landscapes was exhibited in the winter of 1915-16, they were considered 'striking' and generally praised for their 'remarkable effects of filtered sunlight.'" (I.S. Fort, M. Quick, American Art: A Catalogue of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Collection, Los Angeles, California, 1991, p. 210) In the present work, Hassam combines these panoramic landscape effects with the inclusion of a bounty of fruit, vegetables and flowers in the foreground, recalling the theme of his Exposition mural.

While California Impressionism was established in its own right by the time of his visit, Hassam’s large and looming figure in the greater context of American Impressionism certainly had its influence. As H. Barbara Weinberg states, “Hassam’s demonstration in his western scenes of the merits of Impressionism for depicting the region’s forms, light and atmosphere intersected with, and may even have stimulated, the development of California Impressionism.” (Childe Hassam: American Impressionist, New Haven, Connecticut, 2004, p. 197) Regardless, Hassam’s brief time in California was beneficial for all artists involved, and the use of bright colors and remarkable effects of sunlight seen in the present work were certainly inspired by Hassam’s interactions with his fellow painters, and of course, the inimitable California landscape.

Provenance:
The artist.
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, by bequest, 1935.
[With]Hammer Galleries, New York, 1967.
[With]M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, 1973.
Harry Spiro Collection, New York, acquired from the above, 1973.
Sam Porter, New York, by 1983.
Sotheby's, New York, 3 December 1987, lot 217, sold by the above.
Mr. R.J. Allen, Jr., Elmhurst, Illinois, acquired from the above.
Sotheby's, New York, 24 May 2000, lot 64, sold by the above.
Henry Luce III, New York, acquired from the above.
Estate of the above.
Christie's, New York, 24 May 2007, lot 131, sold by the above.
Private collection, Greenwich, Connecticut, acquired from the above.
Christie's, New York, 1 December 2010, lot 38, sold by the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.

Exhibited:
New York, Hammer Galleries, Childe Hassam, February 4-21, 1969, no. 23, illustrated.
New York, Park Lane Galleries, 19th and 20th Century American Impressionists, December 1-31, 1981.

This lot is sold and shipped framed

The condition of lots can vary widely and the nature of the lots sold means that they are unlikely to be in a perfect condition. Lots are sold in the condition they are in at the time of sale.

This report was prepared by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.:
This work is in excellent condition. The canvas is still stretched on its original stretcher. The monogram and inscription are clearly visible. Slight cracking has developed in the sky and upper center and in the lower right quadrant particularly but this is not disturbing. The heavy impasto is undamaged and the colors remain brilliant. When viewed under ultraviolet light, Hassam’s original paint layer reads very strongly. There is a small group of retouches in the sky, slightly to the left of the peak of the mountain. There is also one retouch to the right of the peak. Throughout the work we see strongly florescent paint which corresponds to original pigment. This includes some very darkly florescent color across the top edge in the sky. In the upper left corner there are two tiny retouches which are not visible under ultraviolet light or to the naked eye. The work can be hung as is.

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