November Morning

Dwight William Tryon (American, 1849-1925)

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This painting's introspective mood, harmonious colors and peaceful, open scene are prime examples of American Tonalism.

The artist wanted his lanscapes to be evocations of states of mind.

Tryon's favorite subject was a stand of trees in a barren field at twilight.

Dwight Tryon: Tonal Impressionist

Dwight Tryon was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and displayed his artistic talent at an early age. He was forced to defer an art career to support his widowed mother. While working in a bookstore, he began painting scenes along the Connecticut River. He went to France with his wife in 1876 to study art at the École des Beaux Arts and spent the summer in the village of Barbizon, where he was inspired by the area's quiet pastoral landscape. After returning to America, Tryon opened a summer studio in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in 1883. His paintings from this period are twilight and evening scenes executed in a manner that was influenced by the Barbizon School. His palette changed in the 1890s, as he employed soft, luminous, and bright colors. Tryon became director of the Art School at Smith College and was instrumental in developing their art collection.

Tryon's favorite subject was a stand of trees in a barren field at twilight or just after sunrise. November Morning is lighter in color and freer in execution than most of his treatments of this motif. While it may be reminiscent of Impressionist landscapes, such as Monet's scenes of poplar trees, the intentions of the two artists were radically different. Tryon despised the naturalism of the Impressionists, as his landscapes are evocations of states of mind rather than depictions of nature. Such landscapes are examples of Tonalism, a style in which muted colors and peaceful, open scenes create introspective moods. In keeping with this attitude, Tryon composed his paintings in his studio from memory. With their subtle color harmonies and sense of gentle melancholy, Tryon's works are prime examples of American Tonalism. After 1890, Impressionism began to displace the Barbizon aesthetic in America, and it was inevitable that the two schools should eventually affect each other. Whether intentional or not, November Morning reflects the influence of Impressionism

Caffin, Charles H. The Art of Dwight W. Tryon: An Appreciation. Averill Press, 2008.


Purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1902.

Object Information

Dwight William Tryon (American, 1849-1925)
creation date
oil on panel
26 x 34 in. (panel)
35-1/8 x 41-3/4 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
John Herron Fund
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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