Road Over the Hill by John Henry Twachtman
Road Over the Hill by John Henry Twachtman Road Over the Hill by John Henry Twachtman Road Over the Hill by John Henry Twachtman
Road Over the Hill by John Henry Twachtman

Road Over the Hill by John Henry Twachtman

  • This ethereal landscape is the work of the great American painter John Henry Twachtman
  • Twachtman was among the most important American Impressionists of his generation
  • His best works such as this capture pastoral views of Greenwich, Connecticut
  • With its color tones and loose brushwork, it is exemplary of his signature style
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Item No. 30-8909
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John Henry Twachtman
1853-1902 | American

Road Over the Hill

Stamped "Twachtman" (lower left)
Oil on panel

John Henry Twachtman's pastoral paintings of Greenwich, Connecticut, are among the most original and important works of American Impressionism from the late 19th century. The present work, entitled Road Over the Hill, is exemplary of his innovative and fresh Tonalist style, revealing Twachtman's exploration of atmosphere and color in each and every brushstroke. Boasting an almost abstract quality in the artist's treatment of color planes, it is an exceptional work of modern American art.

Twachtman's view for Road Over the Hill is almost certainly along Round Hill Road, an area near his Greenwich home. His high angle of vision reflects the influence of Japanese prints, as does the way the line of the road draws the viewer's eye across the surface rather than into the depth. The time of year appears to be spring, and Twachtman portrayed this season of renewal by treating forms in a generalized, indistinct manner, suggestive of their nascent, tentative character. He limited his palette mostly to lavender and green, along with touches of blue, yellow and peach, expressing the feeling of an ethereal morning light. The deeper red tone of the panel deliberately shows through in select areas of the composition - it serves to set the lighter tones into relief, heightening their luminosity. Overall, it presents a tranquil, impressionistic view of one of Twachtman's preferred subjects, embodying the originality of his output.

The red stamp at the lower left indicates that it was in the 1903 sale of Twachtman's works. The work eventually entered the collection of the dealer Frank Knox Morton Rehn, who promoted the works of American Scene painters in the 1920s and 1930s, most notably Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield.

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, enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts 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.

This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of John Henry Twachtman by L.N. Peters and I. Spanierman.

Circa 1890

Panel: 19" high x 19 1/2" wide
Frame: 29 1/2" high x 30 1/4" wide

Exhibited:
John Twachtman: A Painter's Painter, Spanierman Gallery, New York, May 4 - June 24, 2006

References:
John Twachtman: A Painter's Painter, New York, 2006, by L.N. Peters, pp. 162-63, no. 42 (illustrated)

Provenance:
American Art Galleries, New York, Sale of the Work of the Late John H. Twachtman, March 24, 1903, lot 48
Edward A. Rorke, 1903
Frank Rehn Gallery, New York
Dr. Diane Tannenbaum, New York, 1970
Robert Austin, 1992
Vance Jordan Fine Art, New York
Private collection, Atlanta, 1999
specifications
Period: 1816-1918
Origin:America
Subject:Landscape
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