A Summer Day

John H. Twachtman (American, 1853-1902)

Currently on View in K208
Image Licensing

Purchased from the Inaugural Exhibition through the John Herron Fund - probably owned by the estate previously

Gallery Label

The painting's complex color harmonies and crusty interwoven strokes infused with soft light exhibit the elements that make Twachtman a key American Impressionist.

This peaceful scene was painted on the artist's farm in Connecticut.

Twachtman and Impressionism

John Twachtman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1853. His career began at age fourteen, when he helped his father decorate window shades. He studied in Munich with William Merritt Chase and Frank Duveneck. Twachtman’s early paintings were in the Munich manner. In 1883, he attended the Académie Julian in Paris, where he came under the influence of French Impressionism. His paintings shifted from the dark, shadowy Munich palette to soft gray and green tones. He became one of the founding members of The Ten, a group that included America’s most important Impressionist painters. Twachtman lightened his palette to the point where white dominated his canvases. He favored pure landscape, often excluding figures and buildings. When they did appear in his scenes, they were obscured by the hazy atmosphere. Twachtman’s landscapes took on an abstract quality that anticipated the modernist style.

The complex color harmonies and thick, interwoven strokes of pigment in A Summer Day recall the French painter Claude Monet’s canvases. Twachtman was inspired by the chromatic experiments of the Impressionists. Rhythmic lines in the contour of hill and rock, the bent figure in the boat, and the curve of the water’s edge form a decorative pattern, which is repetitive, yet varied. This peaceful scene of a figure on a small lake was painted on the artist’s farm in Connecticut.

Peters, Lisa N. John Henry Twachtman: An American Impressionist. Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 1999.

Object Information

John H. Twachtman (American, 1853-1902)
creation date
about 1900
oil on canvas
27 x 30 in. (canvas)
34-5/8 x 39-1/2 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
John Herron Fund
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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