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Childe Hassam

Born: 1859, Dorchester, Massachusetts, United States of America
Died: 1935, East Hampton, New York, United States of America

French Peasant Girl
c. 1883

Oil on canvas
Overall: 21 5/8 x 13 7/8in. (54.9 x 35.2cm)
Frame: 30 1/2 × 22 1/2 × 3in. (77.5 × 57.2 × 7.6cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1989.21
Signed: Lower right: monogram
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

Said to be one of Childe Hassam’s earliest paintings in oils, French Peasant Girl shows a young woman in profile, leaning on a stick as she gazes into the distance beyond the right edge of the composition. Seen from slightly above, the figure is embedded in the land, with only her neck and head rising above the horizon line. The soft brushwork and muted palette (range of colors) of this outdoor image, as well as the peasant subject, show the influence of a group of French painters of rural life and landscape known as the Barbizon school. Hassam gained first-hand knowledge of their work during his first visit to Europe, in 1883; French Peasant Girl probably was painted soon after his return to his native Boston, where the Barbizon school’s naturalistic portrayal of humble country life was championed and emulated by painter William Morris Hunt. Hassam never returned to the theme of peasant life, but the solitary female subject and the problem of juxtaposing near objects against a distant background would continue to preoccupy him for the remainder of his long career.

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Provenance

The artist
Mr. Louis Ober
Descended in family to Truth Ober, 1914
Milch Galleries, New York, New York
Governor and Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman, New York, 1960
Descended in family to John R. Lehman, New York
Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York, New York
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1989

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Exhibition History

Childe Hassam, 1859–1935, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona, February 5–March 5, 1972; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, March 26–April 30, 1972 (as French Girl). [exh. cat.]

Paintings from the Collection of Governor and Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman, Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts and Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts (organizer). Venue: Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, November 1, 1986–January 6, 1987. [exh. cat.]

Impressions de toujours: les peintres américains en France, 1865–1915 (Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865–1915), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, June 1–November 1, 1992; April 1–October 31, 1993; April 16–October 31, 1995. [exh. cat.]

Giverny: une impression américaine (Giverny, An American Impression), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–November 1, 1998.

Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920 (The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–July 15, 1999; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1999–May 7, 2000 (in modified form). [exh. cat.]

Selections from the Permanent Collection: American Artists in France, 1860–1910, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 10–June 3, 2001.

Childe Hassam (1859–1935): TransAtlantic Impressions, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, February 16–April 28, 2002.

The People Work: American Perspectives, 1840–1940 (Le Travail à l'oeuvre: les artistes américains 1840–1940), Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venues: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 15–May 25, 2003; Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, June 8–August 17, 2003. [exh. cat.]

Childe Hassam (1859–1935) Retrospective, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York (organizer). Venue: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, June 7–September 12, 2004. [exh. cat.]

Le Passage à Paris: les artistes américains en France, 1860–1930 (Passing through Paris: American Artists in France, 1860–1930), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, April 1–October 31, 2005. [exh. brochure]

Le Passage à Paris: les artistes américains en France, 1860–1930 (Passing through Paris: American Artists in France, 1860–1930), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, April 1–October 29, 2006. [exh. brochure]

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Published References

Childe Hassam, 1859–1935. (exh. cat., University of Arizona Museum of Art). Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1972. Ill. cat. no. 15, p. 56 (as French Girl).

Paintings from the Collection of Governor and Mrs. Herbert H. Lehman. (exh. cat., Williams College Museum of Art). Williamstown, Massachusetts: Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute and Williams College Museum of Art, 1986. Text & ill. cat. no. 17 (color).

Gerdts, William H. et al. Lasting Impressions: American Painters in France, 1865–1915. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992. Text p. 236; pl. 65, p. 239 (color).

Gerdts, William H. et al. Impressions de toujours: les peintres américains en France, 1865–1915. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1992. Text p. 236; pl. 65, p. 239 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. The People Work: American Perspectives, 1840–1940. (exh. cat., Terra Museum of American Art). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2003. Text pp. 13, 28 (checklist); ill. p. 40 (color).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. Le Travail à l'oeuvre: les artistes américains, 1840–1940. (exh. cat., Terra Museum of American Art). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2003. Text pp. 13, 28 (checklist); ill. p. 40 (color).

Weinberg, H. Barbara. Childe Hassam: American Impressionist. (exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004. Text pp. 37–38, no. 50, p. 408; fig. 28, p. 36 (color).

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