It’s never quite clear to artists when and where inspiration may strike. Such was the case with American Impressionist Childe Hassam, who fell in love with a particular place that would occupy his imagination for nearly 30 years.
For the first time in nearly 25 years, a series of lovely oils of Maine’s Isles of Shoals by renowned American Impressionist Childe Hassam is the subject of a fascinating collaborative exhibition, at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
“American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals” will present more than 40 oil paintings and watercolors that highlight the artist’s ongoing love for and fascination with a group of small, rocky islands lying in the Gulf of Maine six miles off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. From the late 1880s to about 1912, artist Childe Hassam was fascinated with this particular location and concentrated his creative energy on capturing the gorgeous colors, rhythms, and vistas so common on the isles. Via the museum webpage: “‘American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals’ is the result of an unprecedented collaboration of research between geologists, marine scientists and curators that led to new discoveries about Hassam’s paintings and artistic practice.
“When Childe Hassam stepped off the ferry onto the rocks of Appledore Island, he found the place that would occupy his imagination for three decades. Comfortably ensconced in a rambling resort, waking to bright sun and Atlantic breezes, the artist gave himself over to painting en plein air. Hassam created a body of work that remains a pinnacle of American impressionism. This is the first exhibition in more than 25 years to focus on Hassam’s paintings of the Isles of Shoals.”
“American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals” opened on July 16 and will be on view through November 6. To learn more, visit the Peabody Essex Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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