Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman
Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman
Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman

Greenwich Garden by John Henry Twachtman

  • John Henry Twachtman was one of the most innovative American Impressionists of his day
  • Greenwich Gardens shows not only his distinctive style, but also his lifelong dedication to nature
  • The work was painted at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut as a collaboration with his son
  • Revealing his modern approach to perspective, the work is a stunning example of his output
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Item No. 30-9123
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description
John Henry Twachtman
1853-1902 | American

J. Alden Twachtman
1882-1974 | American

Greenwich Gardens

Signed "J. Alden Twachtman" (lower left)
Oil on canvas

John Henry Twachtman is remembered as one of the most innovative painters of his day. More than any other artist of his generation, he helped to advance the ideals of Impressionism in America, and he remained devoted to his highly original Impressionist vision throughout his career. Greenwich Gardens shows not only his distinctive style, but also his lifelong dedication to nature. The exceptional work was painted at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, the setting for many of his most important compositions. That the work was a highly personal collaboration with his son makes it all the more extraordinary.

Although its is signed "J. Alden Twachtman," Greenwich Gardens is primarily the work of John Twachtman, with a minimum of assistance provided by his eldest son, John Alden Twachtman (named for his father's close friend J. Alden Weir). The subject is the back of his home, which was prevalently featured in his output from this period. The setting allowed him to experiment not only with his Impressionist aesthetics, but also a more modern approach to depth and perspective. In this painting, he succeeds: the house is cropped, so only a section of its back facade is seen in close up. The blossoming forms of the garden largely obscure the walls of the house, resulting in a composition that evokes Japanese prints in its lack of recession and in its flat, superimposed forms. Flowers seem interwoven with the forms of the house, their lines and shapes coalescing to form a unified arrangement.

The painting, with its overabundance of florals and foliage, suggests Twachtman's feeling that nature was an integral part of the domestic experience in Greenwich. Perhaps the father took pleasure in involving his son in creating an image of an experience they both shared, even going so far as to allow Alden to sign the work. Still, only the somewhat mechanical clipped strokes in the upper leaves seem to actually be by Alden's hand, comparable to a similar type of brushwork in other compositions by the artist. In all, it is overwhelmingly indicative of the style and aesthetics of the father.

Born in Cincinnati in 1853, John Henry Twachtman received his first artistic training from Frank Duveneck, an American figure painter. By 1875, he chose to advance his studies in Munich, enrolling at the Academy of Fine Arts there from 1875 to 1877. After a brief interlude in Venice and America, Twachtman returned to Europe to study at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he fell under the influence of the American painter James McNeill Whistler.

By the time he returned to America and settled in Greenwich, he had begun to fully develop his distinctive, highly personal impressionist style. He became heavily involved in the emerging arts scene in the American northeast, first joining the Society of American Artists and the Tile Club in the 1870s, and later becoming a founding member of the most important group of their generation, The Ten. Unfortunately, he died suddenly at the age of 49 of a brain aneurysm, cutting short a promising career. Today, his works can be found in numerous museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and many others.

Circa 1890

Canvas: 30" high x 30" wide
Frame: 44 1/2" high x 44 1/2" wide

Exhibited:
Impressionist Painters of Connecticut, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut, June 23 - September 29, 1996
Visions of Home: American Impressionist Images of Suburban Leisure and Country Comfort, The Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, April-June 1997, no. 20

References:
Visions of Home: American Impressionist Images of Suburban Leisure and Country Comfort, The Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, 1997, by L.N. Peters, pp. 12-13 (illustrated)
John Twachtman: A Painter's Painter, New York, 2006, by L.N. Peters, pp. 146-147, no. 34 (illustrated)

Provenance:
J. Alden Twachtman, the artist's son
by descent to Dr. Eric Twachtman, Essex, Connecticut
thence by descent through the family
Private collection, 1990
specifications
Period: 1816-1918
Origin:America
Subject:Landscape
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