1859-1935 | American
The Golf Links
Oil on panel
Signed, located and dated "Childe Hassam / Easthampton / Oct 7th 1926" (lower right)
Widely regarded as the foremost American Impressionist painter, the incomparable Childe Hassam captures the calm tranquility of the golf course in this extraordinary oil on canvas laid down on board, complete with the original frame designed by Hassam himself. The work is representative of the artist’s enduring attachment to East Hampton, a picturesque village in Long Island, New York. His fascination led him to spend most summers in the seaside town during the last two decades of his life — it was during one of these visits in 1926 that he composed the present scene. The idyllic village, with its meadows, gardens, beaches and grand old houses, inspired some of the best works of the artist’s oeuvre, and the best years of his life. As an obituary stated, “He lived with gusto, smoked a pipe, played golf, kept a good cellar, buffeted the East Hampton surf with a great, bronzed body, and worked joyously until his last illness.”
With an impressionistic eye, Hassam captures here the nuances of color and light on the “green” with an array of hues — greens, blues, yellows and purples all form the expanse. The cool-toned tranquility of the course is echoed in Hassam’s exquisitely rendered sky. Soft, cotton-like clouds hover above the indistinct horizon line; their blue-grey tones and rolling brushstrokes give the pictorial sky a shimmer of movement. He weaves together different textures and tones in a single, bold brushstroke, creating a scene that is cohesive yet ethereal. The subject of this work is the Maidstone Club, an exclusive private club in East Hampton, New York, established in 1891.
A pioneer of American Impressionism, Hassam’s distinctly American subjects are both nostalgic and vibrant, and today are considered among the best of turn-of-the-century American art. Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Hassam began his artistic career as a freelance illustrator, working for nationwide publications such as Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s Monthly, and The Century. His first solo exhibition of watercolors took place in Boston in 1883, and he quickly catapulted onto the international scene, winning a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. Upon his return from Paris, his work took on the distinctly impressionistic style for which he is today so beloved. A true master, Hassam depicted a way of life characteristic of both American and French society, and his work elucidates an important chapter in American history. Today, his work resides in numerous important museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.
Panel: 10 3/8” high x 12 5/8” wide
Frame: 16 3/4” high x 19 1/4” wide
Senator William Benton, Southport, Connecticut
Thence by descent in the family
Childe Hassam, American Impressionist, 2004, by H.B. Weinberg and E. Barker