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    Childe Hassam (1859-1935)


    Giant Magnolias, 1904


    Oil on canvas

    Original Purchase Fund from Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, ARCA Foundation, and Anne Cannon Forsyth, 1967.2.2


    Like many American artists who came of age in the decades following the Civil War, Childe Hassam felt the lure of France. The artist lived and worked in Paris between 1886 and 1889, where he absorbed the style of the French Impressionists. Many of the artistic choices that Hassam made for Giant Magnolias reflect their influence, including the shallow space and the vertical, closely cropped composition. The most significant artistic practice Hassam adopted in France, however, was his method of building up his images with small, discrete dabs of paint, placed side by side rather than carefully blended. In this way, Hassam conveyed to the viewer that the object was an artistic creation rather than a window onto reality. This notion was a hallmark of artistic modernism. Here, dabs of blue, green, and white paint take the shape of a highly reflective ceramic vase holding fragrant magnolia blossoms.