August 8, 2016

The poet and the painter

{Childe Hassam, From the Doorway, 1892}

In 1886, Hassam made his first extended stay on Appledore. ... During that visit, he completed two oils and a dozen watercolors... As is evidenced by their descent in local families, Hassam gave away most of these bright and illustrative paintings as souvenirs to friends staying at the island's famous hotel, The Appledore House. Nonetheless, they indicate that Hassam had clearly come under the spell of  the island.
{He would visit it almost every year for the next thirty years,painting it more than 150 times.}
      Here, on her hop-shaded piazza and in her flower-bedecked parlor, [Celia] Thaxter presided over a coterie of visiting writers, artists,and musicians, drawn to the islands by the poet's celebrity, but also her polite cajoling. A prized ornament in Thaxter's salon, Hassam relished the attention. Until Thaxter's death in 1894, her cottage was the center of the artist's social and creative life on Appledore. And her garden provided his first great subject.
      Over  four summers, he painted the garden from the cottage piazza, and from inside and outside the board fence. At times, he lost himself in the ecstatic swirl of petal and leaf, the paint strokes responding not only to form and color, but also to nature dancing in the Atlantic breeze. ...
from American Impressionist:  Childe Hassam and The Isles of Shoals,
edited by Austin Barron Bailly and John W. Coffey

{Childe Hassam, Flower Garden, c. 1892}

Some of these garden paintings were commissioned as illustrations for Thaxter's 'still-celebrated' book, An Island Garden, published in 1894.  I have a pretty, modern, slipcased edition of this book, , a gift a long time ago, and a book that I've  never paid much attention to, but will now.   

1 comment:

Mac n' Janet said...

One of my absolute favorite painters!!!