John Leslie Breck

(American, 1860–1899)

santa maria della salute by moonlight by john leslie breck

John Leslie Breck

Santa Maria della Salute by Moonlight, 1897

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In the late 1880s, John Leslie Breck was drawn to Giverny and the Impressionism of Claude Monet. He was one of few Americans to enter Monet's inner circle, and the New York-born artist became an early exponent of the "new painting." After a failed romance with Monet's stepdaughter, Blanche Hoschedé, he returned to Boston in 1890 and continued to paint in this avant-garde style. He exhibited at the St. Botolph Club in Boston in October 1890, and his Impressionist canvases provoked lively response in Boston and New York. His premature death in 1899 elicited a memorial exhibition at the St. Botolph Club, at which time the leadership and direction of the Boston school had been assumed by Edmund Tarbell.
Some of Breck’s most memorable canvases were executed after his return to America, he spent the remainder of his life painting along the Massachusetts coast, and some of his best work includes views of Ipswich. Ipswich, painted around 1894, clearly reflects the palette of Monet but also demonstrates Breck's masterful assimilation of Impressionist brushwork and strong sense of composition.