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Childe Hassam (American, 1859 - 1935)
1894. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18". 2005.003
Childe Hassam is one of the great American Impressionist painters. He studied in Paris where he absorbed the experiments and concerns of the French Impressionists. Returning to New York City, he became one of its leading artists. In 1897 he helped organize The Ten, a group of American Impressionist painters who mounted independent exhibitions much the same as had their French precursors. Winter, Midnight is a superb example of the highly atmospheric urban genre scenes for which Hassam is best known. The warm glow of the gas streetlight permeates the thick, snow-filled air, nearly, thought not entirely, dissolving the presence of the buildings and carriages. While clearly at ease with the exuberant brushwork of snow and light characteristic of the influence of French Impressionism, Hassam also quite deftly asserts the structure of the buildings and carriages lined along the street. This attention to material substance mixed with spontaneous brushwork is a hallmark of American Impressionism.