Saturday, February 9, 2013

This painting of Childe Hassam done about 1890 in Boston represents his "rainy-snowy-winter day carriage scenes" quite well. It is loosely done but also shows a lot of planning and detail. You have to look really close to see all the harnessing on the horses, the blinders on the horse, the silver tipped umbrella.  The boy carrying the newspapers and the man with the umbrella can be found in other paintings.  Childe first learned to draw and use watercolors as a child sitting in the carriage his father stored in a large shed with an assortment of antiques (an early picker).  So he knew every aspect of horses and carriages. Thanks to the Boston fire of 1872(?) his father lost his business and had to sell all the antiques. Childe then left high school at 16 and went out to work. Too bad Childe listened to the critics who started wondering when he was going to come in out of the rain-snow. I don't think his mastery was ever at a higher level than in the 1880-90s.  The depression he felt (naustalgia for the pre-modern age) is another story.  But can you imaging the change in just 10-20 years from horse clomping carriages to streets chocked with tall buildings and automobiles. I've done some drawings and studies of this painting to better understand Childe's work.  

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