Celia Thaxter's Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine, 1890
Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935)
Oil on canvas; 17 3/4 x 21 1/2 in. (45.1 x 54.6 cm)
Anonymous Gift, 1994 (1994.567)
During his student years in Paris, from 1886 to 1889, Hassam was simultaneously schooled in academic principles and attracted to the French Impressionists' commitment to painting outdoors. After settling in New York in late 1889, he became a prolific recorder of city scenes in the Impressionist mode and spent summers at various New England art colonies, including Appledore Island, one of the Isles of Shoals, ten miles off the New Hampshire coast. The poet Celia Thaxter's old-fashioned cutting garden on Appledore inspired many of his watercolors and oils, including this splendid example. The lush garden, which frames a view of sun-bleached Babb's Rock, offers a sumptuous contrast to the island's rugged terrain. Created during Hassam's first summer after returning to the United States, the canvas suggests his delight in nourishing his Impressionist style in a visually exciting and historically evocative rural retreat.