The Village Lane by Robert Spencer
The Village Lane by Robert Spencer The Village Lane by Robert Spencer The Village Lane by Robert Spencer The Village Lane by Robert Spencer
The Village Lane by Robert Spencer

The Village Lane by Robert Spencer

  • This oil on canvas was composed by the American Impressionist Robert Spencer
  • Spencer was one of the most important artists of the celebrated New Hope School
  • He was renowned for his depictions of the rural working class such as this
  • His unique version of Pennsylvania Impressionism is clearly on display in this work
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Item No. 30-9119
Price: Available upon request
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Robert Spencer
1879-1931 | American

The Village Lane

Signed "Robert Spencer" (lower right)
Oil on canvas

Robert Spencer is one of the most significant members of the New Hope School artists, and his works fully demonstrate the group's appreciation for and celebration of the American landscape. Emerging during a period when French Impressionism had its greatest influence on American artists, the New Hope School came to create a distinctly America Impressionist style. Spencer's unique version of this Pennsylvania Impressionism - as well as his love for the New Hope area - is keenly felt in this oil on canvas entitled The Village Lane.

The work itself captures a nostalgic vision of the New Hope area. Unlike other New Hope artists, Spencer's focus is not on the landscape, but rather the people of this Delaware River region. He depicts his working-class villagers going about their daily lives, celebrating the quietude of rural America. The painting's square format, flattened perspective, and layering of planes are all common tropes utilized by the artist. Imbued with light, his palette of blues, greens and yellows is expressively applied in thick daubs of paint, recalling the early works of the Pointillists. Yet, the overall effect is tranquil and serene, partly in thanks to his cool color tones, but also due to the sleepy subject of this now famed town.

Born in Harvard, Nebraska, in 1879, Robert Spencer moved often as a child thanks to his father's work as an itinerant clergyman. The family eventually settled in New York by his teenage years, where, after graduating high school, he attended classes at the National Academy of Design. From 1903 until 1905, he continued his studies at the New York School of Art under the tutelage of American Impressionist William Merritt Chase and the Realist painter Robert Henri.

It was in the fall of 1909 when Spencer moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he joined a number of other local artists the create the New Hope School colony. His studio there was set up nearby the local mills, which provided ample subject matter for some of Spencer's most important paintings. He became most famous for his works of the rural working class, among which the present composition can be counted. He exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad throughout his career, garnering numerous prizes. Today, his paintings can be found in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the New Hope Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), and many others.

Circa 1919

Canvas: 29 7/8" high x 32 1/8" wide
Frame: 39 5/8" high x 45 1/2" wide

References:
New Hope for American Art: A Comprehensive Showing of Important 20th Century Painting From and Surrounding the New Hope Art Colony, New Jersey, 2005, by J.M. Alterman, p. 530 (illustrated)
specifications
Period: 1919-Present
Origin:America
Subject:Cityscapes
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