Harbor of a Thousand Masts

MAKER:
Artist

Childe Hassam ( American, 1859 - 1935 )

DATE:
1919
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General Description

This bright, vibrant maritime scene was painted quickly, but the setting is a location Childe Hassam studied for nearly thirty years. Gloucester, Massachusetts was a popular artists' colony in the 19th and early 20th centuries. When Hassam first visited the coastal town in 1890, he was an ambitious painter freshly returned from studying abroad. The painting's visible plywood panel marks a key difference from his earlier works and those of the French Impressionists. In comparison to the thickly painted surface of Along the Seine, Winter (1887), also in the Dallas Museum of Art collections, this harbor scene becomes a veil of flickering color.

Between his initial summer and the time he created Harbor of a Thousand Masts, he befriended John Twachtman, became a leading figure in American Impressionism, and produced his renowned series of flag paintings showing the parades along Fifth Avenue during the first world war. Along with Twachtman, Hassam was one of the select group of painters who resigned from the nation's leading artist organization, the Society of American Artists, in order to exert more control over the size and arrangements of their exhibitions. The group, known as The Ten American Painters, exhibited work for two decades ending in 1918.

Excerpt from

Emily Schiller, DMA label text

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