Lot 45
  • 45

Childe Hassam 1859 - 1935

1,000,000 - 1,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Childe Hassam
  • Shingling the First Baptist Church, Gloucester
  • signed Childe Hassam and dated 1919 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 40 1/2 by 50 1/2 inches
  • (102.87 by 128.27 cm)


The artist
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, 1935 (bequest from the artist)
Milch Galleries, New York, 1958
Jules Brassner, New York
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1970
Margaret F. Lynch, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1970 (acquired from the above)
By descent to the present owner


New York, National Academy of Design, 95th Annual Exhibition, April-May 1920, no. 265 (as Shingling the First Baptist Church: East Gloucester)
New York, Milch Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by George De Forest Brush, Bruce Crane, Thomas W. Dewing, Childe Hassam, Williard L. Metcalf, J. Francis Murphy, January 1921, no. 14
Buffalo, New York, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Twenty-Second Annual Exhibition of Selected Paintings by American Artists, April-June 1928, no. 50, p. 16 (as Shingling the Baptist Church)
Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Eleventh Exhibition of Contemporary American Oil Paintings, October-December 1928, no. 130, p. 51, illustrated p. 68
Gloucester, Massachusetts, Cape Ann Historical Association, Portrait of a Place: Some American Landscape Painters in Gloucester, July-September 1973, no. 15, p. 64, illustrated in color (as Church at East Gloucester)
East Hampton, New York, Guild Hall Museum, Childe Hassam, 1859-1935, March-May 1981, no. 23, p. 27 (as Church at Gloucester)
Gloucester, Massachusetts, Cape Ann Museum, 1999-2014 (on loan)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1919, Shingling the First Baptist Church, Gloucester is an important large-scale depiction of one of Childe Hassam’s favored subjects. The artist routinely spent the summer months away from his New York studio, frequenting the small towns and harbors dotting the New England coast from Connecticut to Maine. Beginning with his first visit to Gloucester as a young artist in his early 20s, Hassam returned to this idyllic coastal fishing village repeatedly throughout his career, including in July, August and September of 1919.

The picturesque harbor and light-filled atmosphere of Gloucester inspired several generations of American artists before Hassam, creating an artistic heritage encompassing both Fitz Henry Lane’s luminist seascapes and Winslow Homer’s exquisite watercolors. Hassam often boarded at a hotel in East Gloucester, a mixed commercial and residential area a few miles from the town center—he used the topography of the area to great advantage in Shingling the First Baptist Church, Gloucester, nestling the church among the cottages that fill the eastern shores while setting the steeple against the far side of the harbor, drawing the eye through the composition to the promontory of Rocky Neck on the right.

Jay E. Cantor writes, “Hassam’s mode of depicting historical towns was conditioned in part by his experience in rendering views of New York. He sought the most salient overall view while also recording special features, such as the church or most prominent house. Occasionally such views allude to traditional economic activities of the community. Hard work, honest labor, traditional values, the energizing activities of the community, replaced the casual denizens of city streets. In towns like Old Lyme or East Hampton, which lacked an impressive waterside view, he showed the streets and lanes, meadows and churches. Gloucester and Newport afforded a better opportunity to create a distant perspective. While these town views often center on the steeple of a church or meetinghouse, Hassam described these places with a matter-of-factness that recalls much of his New York work” (Childe Hassam: Impressionist, New York, 1999, p. 108).

During his trips to Paris in the late 1880s, Hassam fully embraced impressionist techniques, aesthetics and subjects. Instead of immersing himself in the academic teachings of the École des Beaux-Arts or the Académie Julian, where he was enrolled, Hassam largely worked independently, absorbing his most important aesthetic lessons on his own. His art soon evolved away from the dark tonalist character of his earlier Boston pictures, dramatically shifting towards the high-keyed palette, bright light and broken brushwork that characterize his most successful paintings. Upon his return, Hassam applied the vibrancy and clarity of his impressionist vision to quintessentially American locales.  Shingling the First Baptist Church, Gloucester is a remarkable example of the artist’s approach to depicting the world around him.  Its luminous color and beautiful surface demonstrate Hassam’s vigorous impressionist style, employing small energized brushstrokes with brilliant highlights to animate the surface of the canvas and suggest the effects of sun-dappled light.