Childe Hassam (American, 1859–1935) was a respected painter known for his colorful outdoor scenes. Born Frederick Childe Hassam in Dorchester, MA, he later dropped Frederick and became known as Childe. Though he was born into a successful family, his father lost everything in the great fire of 1872. Hassam left high school and began working as an apprentice to a local engraver to help with the family finances. Early in his career, he concentrated on watercolors and illustrations. He attended the Boston Art Club and moved to Paris in 1883, where he studied under Louis Boulanger (French, 1806–1867) and Jules Joseph Lefebvre (French, 1836–1911). In 1884, he continued his schooling at Academie Julian, one of the top art schools in the world.

After three years in France, Hassam returned to the United States, where he became involved in the New York social scene. In 1890, he co-founded the New York Water Color Club with several other artists. He later joined the American Water Color Society, the Players Club, and the Society of American Artists. Along with J. Alden Weir (American, 1852–1919), John Henry Twatchman (American, 1853–1902), and eight fellow artists, he formed a group called "The Ten American Painters." The group considered popular American art to be safe, academic, and creatively stifling. Hassam wanted to introduce popular European art techniques to the United States. While in New York City, he began painting street scenes and buildings in a tranquil, soft palette. Though different from typical American art, his work grew in popularity due largely to his appealing use of colors and ability to produce beautiful images.

Hassam won many awards and was elected to the National Academy in 1906. He became known for his paintings such as Manhattan's Misty Sunset, which features a New York skyline accented with hues of yellow, pink, and blue. Hassam enjoyed spending long hours in the country, where he gathered inspiration for many of his pieces. Coast Scene, Isles of Shoals, which features the rocky coast and cool blue ocean, became his first painting to hang in the Metropolitan Museum. During his career, Hassam produced over 2,000 oil paintings, watercolors, illustrations, and pastels. Later in his life, he completed around 400 black-and-white etchings and lithographs. He is celebrated as one of America's most prolific artists. Hassam passed away in 1935 at Willow Bend.

Timeline

1859
Born in Dorchester, MA
1935
Died
Member, Munich Secession
Member, American Water Color Society
Member, New York Water Color Club
Member, National Academy of Design
Member, National Institute of Arts and Letters
Member, Société Nationale des Beaux Arts
Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters
Member, Boston Art Club
Left high school to work as a wood engraver, Boston, MA
Studied art with Boulanger, Lefebvre, Doucet, Academie Julian, Paris, France
Paintings accepted at Paris Salon showings
Married Kathleen Maude Doane on 1 February 1884
Suffered a stroke, possibly brought on by excessive drinking, then a lengthy illness

Exhibitions

1913
Armory Show New York, NY
1887–1889
Paris Salon