DescriptionPROPERTY OF AN EAST COAST INSTITUTION
CHILDE HASSAM (American, 1859-1935)
Oyster Sloop, Cos Cob, 1902
Oil on canvas
24 x 22 inches (61.0 x 55.9 cm)
Signed and dated lower left: Childe Hassam 1902
The estate of the artist;
The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (deaccessioned);
The Frauwirth Family Art Trust, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts;
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
By the late nineteenth century, due largely to the efforts of artists John Twachtman (1853-1902) and J. Alden Weir (1852-1919), an art colony was established in Cos Cob, Connecticut, a modest waterfront section of Greenwich. With the completion of the railroad station in 1870, it took just eighty minutes-a mere thirty miles-to get to this hamlet. Cos Cob's popularity was bolstered by the plein-air instruction offered by both artists. The colony became a magnet for a wide spectrum of both professional and amateur painters.
Childe Hassam was a peripatetic artist, living and working up and down the Eastern seaboard and in Europe. He first visited Cos Cob in 1894, and returned periodically until 1917. The art colony attracted not only painters, but a wide variety of writers, editors, and musicians. Colonists gathered at the Holly House, a boarding house run by Josephine Lynne Holly and her daughter Constant. The admixture of "types" made for a lively bohemian atmosphere, and Hassam became a frequent guest and cherished member of the colony.
Although the artist previously favored garden images while painting in Appledore and on the Island of Shoals in New Hampshire, he turned his attention to more pedestrian subjects in Cos Cob. Inspired by the mills, barns, and shipyards-and the Holly House itself-Hassam's work in Cos Cob is a testament to his fascination with New England history. It is often also nostalgic, and the impact of industrialization become evident during the duration of Hassam's many visits.
If he stood on the porch of the Holly House, Hassam had an excellent view of the shipyard. From this vantage point, he painted a number of scenes of the oystermen that still insisted on using outdated sail powered craft that by this date and largely been replaced by steam boats. Hassam's trademark divided color and bravura brushwork are evident in this painting. Using a varied palette, the artist creates a sense of movement and vibrancy on the canvas.
Hassam's Cos Cob pictures make up an impressive part of his long and storied career working in New England.
Deborah Epstein Solon, Colonies of American Impressionism: Cos Cob, Old Lyme, Shinnecock and Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach: Laguna Art Museum, 1999)
H. Barbara Weinberg, et. al., Childe Hassam, American Impressionist (Metropolitan Museum of Art: Yale University Press, 2004)
This work, illustrated in its original unrestored state, will be included in Stuart P. Feld's and Kathleen M. Burnside's forthcoming catalogue raisonne of the artist's works.
Estimate: $50,000 - $70,000.
The following condition report was completed by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This painting is unlined and stretched on its original stretcher. The tacking edges have been reinforced to allow for safe stretching. The original stamp and date on the reverse are clearly visible. The paint layer is stable and although the restoration that has been applied is not the most focused retouching, the picture could be hung in its current condition. At some point in the picture's 109 year history, the canvas was subjected to atmospheric conditions which brought about quite severe paint loss. While there are no structural damages to the canvas, the paint layer itself suffered quite seriously. As a result, there seem to be broad retouchings throughout the sky and in many areas throughout the remainder of the composition. This is further complicated by the fact that Hassam's pictures do traditionally fluoresce very strongly under ultraviolet light. However, under ultraviolet examination of this painting two different kinds of fluorescent pigment - one is very deep purple and the other is a more brownish purple - both seem, in great part, to correspond to restoration. Bearing this in mind we can see that almost the entire sky and the chimney-stack are repainted. The boat, the shoreline in the foreground and much of the remainder of the landscape all show fairly broad restorations as well. This is not to say that the restorations are well applied, and it is not to say that they are not exaggerated and applied in areas which are not damaged. If these retouches are removed and the picture is re-restored in a more focused and diligent fashion, the painting itself will certainly look considerably better, however it will still show fairly significant restorations in many areas.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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