Lot 50
  • 50

Childe Hassam

300,000 - 500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Childe Hassam
  • The Stone Bridge, Old Lyme
  • signed Childe Hassam and dated 1904 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas


Estate of the artist
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, 1935 (bequest from the above)
The Milch Galleries, New York, 1951
John Fox, Boston, Massachusetts, 1957
Mongerson-Wunderlich Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 1985
Private collection, Irvine, California, 1987
Private collection, Bethesda, Maryland, 1987
A.J. Kollar Fine Paintings, Seattle, Washington
Private collection, Texas (sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 19, 2004, lot 13)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale


Chicago, Illinois, Mongerson-Wunderlich Gallery, Sporting, Marine and Landscape Painting of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 1986, illustrated on the cover


Adeline Adams, Childe Hassam, New York, 1938, p. 89, illustrated opp. p. 36

Catalogue Note

Childe Hassam first visited the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1903. During his stay, he wrote to his friend and fellow artist J. Alden Weir, "We are up here in another old corner of Connecticut and it is very much like your country. There are some very large oaks and chestnuts and many fine hedges. Lyme, or Old Lyme, as it is usually called, is at the mouth of the Connecticut River and it is really a pretty fine old town" (as quoted in Ulrich Hiesinger, Childe Hassam, New York, 1994, p. 124). Instantly enamored with the surrounding landscape, Hassam also sought comfort in the budding artistic community. While in Old Lyme, he resided at the home of proprietress and artistic patron, Florence Griswold, who fostered the artistic colony of Old Lyme, with which Hassam allied himself. The resulting cultural climate pleased Hassam and the stimulating environment was reminiscent of that he enjoyed at Celia Thaxter's salon in Appledore, Isles of Shoals. 

According to Ulrich Hiesinger, "The foundation of Hassam's art was his skill in manipulating color and light, in accordance with his belief that the primary appeal of painting was emotional rather than intellectual. Like other American Impressionist painters, he initially employed techniques of rendering light as a form of realism, but eventually pursued their expressive potential in the direction of abstraction... He saw nature as still life and, even in his early works, often stressed the abstract beauty of surfaces, whether revealed in rain-slicked pavements, the rocks of a craggy shore, or an ice covered river. From his initial attempts at realistic portrayal, he moved steadily toward a greater analysis of his subject's formal, decorative qualities, so that at times the merging of textures and colors in his canvases comes close to pure abstraction" (Ibid, p. 9). Stone Bridge, Old Lyme, painted in 1904, elegantly illustrates Hassam's technique at the turn of the century in which he favored impressionistic brushstrokes of subtle tonal variations over perspective and line. The resulting effect is that the "artist's mosaic like patterning produces not the atmospheric quality of a soft, continuous dissolve, but a fracturing of space through the alternation of light and shade. In subsequent works, Hassam oscillated between these alternatives of illusion and decoration, occasionally abandoning space for strong, tapestry like effects" (Ibid, p. 15). The artist's treatment of the surface became paramount as he enforced the materiality of the paint, creating a decorative, almost tactile surface that simultaneously emphasized the flatness of the canvas and rendered atmospheric effects.