1.4.6 American Barbizon School (1850-1890s)

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Watching the turkeys, Walker
In the Berkshires, Inness
View of Gloucester Harbour, Hunt

The American Barbizon School was a group of painters and style partly influenced by the French Barbizon school, who were noted for their simple, pastoral scenes painted directly from nature. American Barbizon artists concentrated on painting rural landscapes often including peasants or farm animals.

William Morris Hunt was the first American to work in the Barbizon style as he directly trained with Jean-François Millet in 1851-1853. When he left France, Hunt established a studio in Boston and worked in the Barbizon manner, bringing the style to the United States of America. The Barbizon approach was generally not accepted until the 1880s and reached its pinnacle of popularity in the 1890s.

[Source: Wikimedia commons]

1460-10


Image source: artsandculture.google.com
 Horatio Walker was a Canadian painter. He worked in oils and watercolours, often depicting scenes of rural life in Canada. He was influenced by the Barbizon school. Walker made an extended trip to Europe to learn more about Barbizon methods, and its agrarian subject matter, that would come to define his painting for the rest of his life.

Walker’s personal life was disastrous: his daughter died of diphtheria, his son of tuberculosis and his wife Jeanette, was committed to hospital permanently in 1914 due to paranoia. These tragedies do not seem to have influenced his painting.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Watching the TurkeysundatedWatercolourLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Walker, Horatio1858-1938, aged 80Canadian painterAmerican Barbizon School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1460-11

Smithsonian American Art Museum25 x 36  
Inness’ style of the late 1840s and early 1850s was formed largely from prints after the Old Masters seen in New York shops and in the studio of his teacher, the French émigré Régis F. Gignoux.

Engravings and mezzotints after 17th-century Dutch landscapes and the pastoral compositions of Claude and Gaspar Dughet fascinated him, ‘There was a power of motive, a bigness of grasp, in them. They were nature, rendered grand instead of being belittled by trifling details and puny execution. I began to take them out with me to compare them with nature as she really appeared, and the light began to dawn. I had no originals to study, but I found some of their qualities in Cole and Durand […] There was in Durand a more intimate feeling. ‘If,’ thought I, ‘these two could be combined.’
[Source: museothyssen.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
In the Berkshires1848-50Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Inness. George1825-1894, aged 69American artistAmerican Barbizon School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): 1460-12

Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid Spain61 x 56  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Hunt spent the summer of 1877 in Kettle Cove, a fishing village in Gloucester, north of Boston. The surrounding area stimulated him to create a series of landscape paintings, including Gloucester Harbor, which were harbingers of the taste for Impressionism that would soon infect Boston.

Inspired by the late landscapes of Corot and Daubigny, which he had seen on his second trip to Europe in 1866-68 and in Boston collections, Hunt worked out-of-doors, painting this view of Gloucester Harbor in just one afternoon and writing of his pleasure in capturing the particular opalescent light of the seaside.

The spontaneity of his brushwork, luminescent palette, and summary indication of harbor structures make this painting one of Hunt’s most modern works.

Isabella Stewart Gardner, known for the museum she would create for her collection, purchased Gloucester Harbor for the handsome price of $3000 from Hunt’s estate sale. She kept the painting for thirty-four years before giving it to Hunt’s daughter for display in the newly-opened Hunt Memorial Gallery at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
[Source: collections.mfa.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
View of Gloucester Harbor1877Oil/CanvasLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Hunt, William Morris1824-1879, aged 55American artistAmerican Barbizon School
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA USA54 x 79  

Forward to 1.4.7 Spanish Eclecticism and Macchiaioli, Italy
Back to 1.4.5 Hague School, Netherlands (1870-1900)
Forward to 1.5 Modern Art (1860-WWI)

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