This summer, Hawthorne Fine Art is pleased to present a group of works that highlight the richness of the season as well as display the gallery’s exciting new acquisitions. Each year, summer is a long anticipated period filled with hazy days, outdoor excursions, warm sunshine, crystal blue waters, and twinkling light. Each painting in the exhibition portrays an exciting, different experience of the summer months and the enjoyable activities they bring.
In Harbor-Finistère, Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858-1924) captured the iconic experience of relaxing by the water in a French coastal town in summer. Prendergast, who left Boston for Paris in 1891 with his brother, studied at the Académie Julian and the Atelier Colarossi. As art historian Carol Clark notes in her Catalogue Raisonné, Prendergast adopted the artist-flâneurdisposition and primarily documented the idyllic escapism he experienced while abroad. The stylish locale of the coast of France is echoed by the fashionable and elegant women present.
Summer also brings a renewal of interest in one’s own region. The long days associated with freedom and youth – harkening back to a time when there was no school – beckon with possibility of adventure. In Fishermen by a Brookby Charles Wilson Knapp (1823-1900) and Ladies Hiking in the White Mountainsby Samuel Lancaster Gerry (1813-1891), exploration of the local scenery is highlighted. As seen in these works, fishing, sketching, and hiking were the perfect antidote to the mid-day heat when the sun was at its peak. This is evident in Fishing Scene in Pennsylvania by Xanthus Smith (1839-1929) from 1878, where three young fishermen watch as other leisure-seekers float by in rowboats or trot along astride quaint local ponies.
The brightness of the season also encourages a close observation of classic locales in the Hudson River Valley and New England coastlines. In an exquisite drawing of Halfmoon Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts from 1872, James Renwick Brevoort (1832-1918) juxtaposes two tourists against a large, coastal rock formation to highlight the grandiosity of the scene. Similar to Brevoort, John Henry Hill (1839-1922) frames a group of breezy sailboats against a background of scenic mountains in a watercolor of the Hudson Highlands from 1884. In another watercolor by Alfred T. Bricher (1837-1908) of Indian Rock in Narragansett, Rhode Island, the artist expertly captures the effect of sea foam as it breaks against a glistening turquoise sea.
In another tranquil summer scene called Dawn of Morning(c. 1855), James McDougal Hart (1828–1901) painted a group of rustic sheep at sunrise. Hart, a prominent member of the second generation of Hudson River School painters, was known for his refined and intricate pastoral scenes, often featuring grazing animals. Unlike his brother William Hart (1823–1894), James returned to Europe in 1850 to continue his academic training. This background is evident in the way the artist artfully crafts the scene to envelop the viewer in the lushness of summer. The scene Hart chose, Lake Champlain, is also emblematic of American summer destinations.
Eastman Johnson (1824–1905), who studied at the Düsseldorf Academy like James McDougal Hart, was a genre painter associated with the Hudson River School. Johnson’s paintings featured anecdotes from the daily lives of ordinary people as well as prominent Americans. In Washington’s Headquartersfrom 1860, Johnson depicted the romantic ruins of a former base of General George Washington near Vicksburg, Virginia during the Revolutionary War. The crumbling base, demonstrates the artist’s interest not only in his country’s landscape but in the act of tourism – visiting well known sites to connect with America’s heroic past. Summer is the perfect time for traveling around, as the weather allows for extended visits away from home.
To view these works in more detail, please the Inventory page of the gallery website, HawthorneFineArt.com. The exhibition is viewable by appointment, which can be made through contacting the gallery at email@example.com, or by phone at 212.731.0550.
Maurice Brazil Prendergast (1858-1924), Harbor-Finistère, oil on board, 5 ½ x 8 5/8 inches, signed lower left.
Charles Wilson Knapp (1823-1900), Fishermen by a Brook, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches, signed.
Samuel Lancaster Gerry (1813-1891), Ladies Hiking in the White Mountains, oil on canvas, 16 ¼ x 13 1/16 inches, signed lower right.
Xanthus Smith (1839-1929), Fishing Scene in Pennsylvania, 1878, oil on paper mounted on canvas, 10 x 15 inches, signed and dated 1878, lower right.
James Renwick Brevoort (1832-1918), Stage Rocks and Halfmoon Beach, Gloucester, MA, 1872, pencil on paper, 11 3/4 x 18 inches (sight), inscribed with title and dated 1872, lower right.
John Henry Hill (1839-1922), In the Hudson Highlands, 1884, watercolor on paper, 10 1/4 x 14 3/4 inches, signed lower right.
Alfred T. Bricher (1837-1908), Low Tide, Indian Rock, Narragansett, RI, watercolor on paper, 12 ½ x 19 1/4 inches, signed lower left.
James McDougal Hart (1828–1901), Dawn of Morning, c. 1855, oil on canvas, 26 3/16 x 36 ¼ inches, signed lower center.
Eastman Johnson (1824-1906), Washington’s Headquarters, 1860, oil on paper laid on board, 8 2/5 x 6 1/4 inches, signed lower left.