Watercolor is a lifetime pursuit...mostly uphill" (--Robert Wade)
Charles Hassam is an American Impressionist artist, most often considered for his paintings of coastal settings and urban street scenes.
I happen to like him for his watercolors. He painted "pretty" things, and unlike many struggling artists, he was fairly successful during his lifetime, so that often makes critics leery--liking such work makes you "bourgeois" in their eyes. But his watercolors were outstanding. Note the quick, directional strokes in this image, and all that green! Greens are always very difficult in watercolors, and his entire painting here is made up of greens, but it remains fresh and lovely:
When I first saw a few of his watercolors, I thought they were oils. Look at all the detail here, in this interior painting, and notice again, how completely fresh this remains. This one almost reminds me of a painting on YUPO! I'd be curious what his paint surface was here:
Here is a painting of a street vendor and shop windows that I examined for hours the first time I saw it--remember, these are all watercolors I am showing you so far. I would hazard a guess that he used some gouache in this particular image:
A print of this watercolor painting hangs in my office upstairs at home--it reminds me of Italy. Notice the fabulous sense of depth, from the birds in the front and center of this image, all the way through those distant arches:
Here's another watercolor, this one a very typical painting in terms of subject matter for Hassam--an urban setting with elegant, affluent subjects, horses and carriages--here he depicts them in the rain. The sketchiness of this one makes me think it was probably a study for a later oil:
This oil painting is more indicative of what Hassam is best known for--beautiful urban parks and street scenes, although those are often featuring skyscrapers and lots of flags waving:
And this oil painting resides at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA--I've seen it--it's actually quite huge--and impressive. It's also very typical subject matter for Hassam, with a lovely flower shop vendor and again, a street scene. Notice how his figures in the foreground are in darker values than the flowers and vendor in the background, for emphasis:
Hassam was considered one of the top American impressionist painters, and was an important artist in the early 20th century. This painting, below, reminds me of other artists such as Frederick Frieseke, who often painted women in attractive windows and garden settings, backlit and beautiful:
I'm a big Childe Hassam fan, and hope you enjoy seeing some of his work as well.
"With watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you're in trouble." (--Selma Blackburn)