American Reflections: The Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin

September 10 - October 24, 2010


James Carroll Beckwith (1852-1917)
Portrait of a Lady (Figure Study of Minnie Clark)
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
In the 1870s, James Carroll Beckwith shared a studio with his friend, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), and the two young artists helped their teacher Carolus-Duran (1837-1917) paint a large ceiling decoration in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Beckwith subsequently became one of New York's most influential figural painters during the city's Gilded Age.
In the 1890s, Minnie Clark (née Mary Elizabeth Clark) posed for many well-known artists such as William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) and Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944), among others. Artists enjoyed drawing her classical facial features, her delicately shaped nose, alabaster skin, high cheekbones and deep blue eyes. Her aura of innocence and elegance were also enticing and inspiring for the various artists. Beckwith regarded Minnie as one of the best models he had ever painted. He felt that the "first requisite of a young female model is undoubtedly her face. . . [c]ontrary to the general impression in the lay mind, the face is the fortune, and the figure comes afterward."
Portrait of a Lady shows how at ease Minnie was with posing for Beckwith. The oil paint accentuates her luminous skin, her shining hair as well as the bright textures and transparencies of her dress. Art critics praised Beckwith's oil studies due to their freedom of expression, intimacy and spontaneous manner.
The painting is set a period Stanford White frame.
William Chadwick (1879-1962)
Millstone Point
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
The Impressionists preferred sunlight to shadows; light, air, and color as experienced outdoors; and fleeting daily scenes as opposed to mythological or historical subjects. Artists strove to render not the landscape itself but the sensation it produced. While the French depicted middle- and working-class subjects, the American Impressionists focused on sophisticated society and picturesque views of nature. The differences arose from America's emergence as a world power at the turn of the twentieth century, newly rich and recently influential.
Chadwick's style clearly reflects the changes occurring in American Impressionism at the time. The artist's fascination with Impressionistic landscape is evident in Millstone Point, which embraces the spontaneous quality of the style. The picture disregards traditional hierarchies of subject, order, and finish, capturing instead a snapshot in time, as waves crash against the rocky shoreline. Chadwick's bright palette is complemented by his quick, light brushstrokes.
Millstone Point was the site of a quarry in Waterford, Connecticut, and presently is the location of the only nuclear power plant in the state.
Bruce Crane (1857-1927)
May Moon, 1907
Oil on canvas
The Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Bruce Crane was one of the nation's leading landscape painters and became internationally known for his Tonalist "American Barbizon" compositions. His idyllic landscapes were very popular, and Crane was among the most honored artists of his day.
While on a summer trip to the Adirondack Mountains, young Crane stumbled upon a group of ladies sketching nature studies. Inspired, he sought out the renowned artist Alexander Wyant (1836-1892) as his mentor. Despite his Hudson River School training, Wyant admired the French Barbizon artists and developed a more painterly and personal response to nature; his Impressionist and Tonalist tendencies deeply influenced Crane.
May Moon is an excellent example of Crane's evolving Tonalism. The use of delicate tonal values and harmonies, muted colors, and a restrained composition evoke the quieter side of nature. Crane also captured the serenity and nuances of light and tone in a carefully created harmony. The Tonalists were concerned with conceptual truths based on a personal response to the landscape and frequently sacrificed the actual details of a scene to maintain the line, color, beauty, and mood of the final painting. In May Moon the cherry tree at the right blossoms in front of the house, indicating that it is spring. Above, the full moon casts a soft glow, illuminating the pile of hay at the left. The inclusion of hay, a fall phenomenon, might be an addition meant to maintain the harmony of the image. May Moon does not represent an actual locale but rather an "unidentifiable pocket of nature."
Asher B. Durand (1796-1886)
Landscape with Cattle, 1861
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Landscape with Cattle is typical of Asher B. Durand's work in that it depicts a panoramic and sun-lit view of an American landscape. Durand started to paint this style of pastoral scene after his return from Europe in the 1840s. These paintings show Durand's knowledge and understanding of Flemish and Dutch paintings as well as the works of Claude Lorrain (ca. 1604-1682) and John Constable (1776-1837).
Landscape with Cattle includes several compositional features that are typical of Durand's work, such as the cows and the shadows cast by the trees in the foreground, the low horizon, and the luminous sky. The combination of these different elements creates the artist's "faithful landscape," which reminds the viewer of the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York, but in Durand's philosophy was the visible manifestation of Deity, a reverential reflection on an exalted subject.
This painting depicts a landscape barely touched by man, which can be seen in the inclusion of the foot path and the sailboat, where animals and nature live in harmony with each other. This tranquil scene must have been alluring to the viewers of 1861, the year in which the Civil War broke out.
The painting retains its original, period frame.
Ben Foster (1852-1926)
The Meeting House
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
The Meeting House is an exceptional example of a Connecticut landscape by Ben Foster and atypical of his work in the genre in that it includes a building. The structure at the far left is likely Cornubia Hall, a Baptist church that could be seen from his property. In the Barbizon style, the landscape is picturesque and calm, depicting the subtle transition between day and night. The remaining sunlight appears in the sky, but the stream reflects darker tones, as if a cloud were passing by or the sun were about to set over the edge of the mountain. This attention to changing light was typical of American Barbizon artists.
The composition of The Meeting House appears to be symmetrical, but, upon closer inspection, small nuances become apparent. Even though the stream bisects the landscape, it is positioned slightly off-center, as is the hill. The tones are predominantly warm, as if reflecting the yellows, oranges, and reds of the impending sunset on the early autumn landscape.
Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880)
Hudson River Highlands, ca. 1867
Oil on canvas, mounted on board
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Highlands of the Hudson shows a northwestern view from Constitution Island, which is located across from West Point, New York. Storm King Mountain is situated on the left-hand side of the painting and Breakneck Ridge and Mount Taurus on the right. Due to the way Sanford Robinson Gifford modeled the light while painting Mount Taurus it seems as if there were two mountains. In the far distance, one can detect the river bending into a northern direction. Here Gifford amplified the natural contour and altitude significantly, even more than he changed the height of the mountains in the middle ground.
Even though Highlands of the Hudson was painted somewhat quickly, it still depicts the same characteristics of the rest of Gifford's work, such as chromatic shadows, warm light, and hazy atmosphere. Upon closer inspection, one can see the pencil underdrawing, for instance in the outlines of the hills to the right and the left of the river. This makes it apparent that Gifford was not always faithful to his drawings while applying his oils.
The painting is enhanced by a period frame.
James McDougal Hart (1828-1901)
Farmington River
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
James McDougal Hart, his brother, William, and his sister, Julie Hart Beers, were part of the second generation of the Hudson River School, established by Thomas Cole (1801-1848) in the early nineteenth century. To achieve realistic and sublime works, the artists made preliminary sketches outdoors but completed the paintings in their studios.
Farmington River is typical of Hart's work. The river meanders through the left side of the composition and disappears in the trees, cloaked with the green leaves of a warm season. In the distance, the hills stretch for miles, drawing the viewer's gaze. Hart often included cattle in his scenes and, in 1871, began to study them more closely. Here, they roam freely, grazing in the foreground.
With the growth of industrialization, many Americans were forced to move to the cities to find work. Paintings such as Farmington River gave these workers a chance to imagine what it would be like to be in a place unspoiled by man. Hart's painting does not make any reference to a societal establishment, choosing to ignore the presence of man.
Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Nude, 1918
Lithograph on laid paper
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
While living in New York, Child Hassam drew inspiration from his environment and was able to perfect his impressionist technique in watercolor and oil paintings. Elegantly dressed female figures placed in beautiful interiors were a common theme in his work and also with his fellow artists of The Ten American Painters, which was a group of Impressionist artists that Hassam helped establish.
Towards the end of his career, Hassam painted romanticized versions of the female nude in summer landscapes. Nude significantly differs from these expressive paintings of female nudes due to its more aggressive execution.
Hassam's advanced skill of sketching can be seen in the clear outline of the nude's silhouette and the meticulous strokes that accentuate the roundness of the model's body. At the same time, the dark and intense strokes of the surrounding vegetation overlap with the sitter and seem to be enveloping her body.
Even though Hassam was unreserved in his criticism of modernism, one could argue that the stark tonalism of light and dark areas in Nude could be considered as Hassam's own version of modernism.
Childe Hassam (1859-1935)
Fireplace in the Old House, 1912
Oil on cigar box panel
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Childe Hassam painted Fireplace in the Old House on the lid of a Cuban cigar box. This painting shows a woman sitting in front of the fireplace in the Old House, a boardinghouse run by Josephine and Edward Holley, in Cos Cob, Connecticut. The Holley House, as it was also known, became the center of the Cos Cob artist colony at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately identify the sitter. Several ladies were used as models by Hassam during his time in Cos Cob, among them the artist's wife, Maude, Josephine Holley herself, as well as her daughter Constant Holley MacRae. It is also possible that the sitter was the novelist Willa Cather, who visited the Old House sometime before 1915.
However, the painting was not meant to be a portrait of a specific model but rather a depiction of an intimate moment during which a woman is seen reading by the glow of the fire. The fact that the sitter is painted in this way is quite important since the other female subjects that Hassam depicted in front of a fireplace are always inactive. In the other paintings the models either stand or sit in contemplation.
The painting retains its original period Whistler-style gilded frame.
Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Untitled (Nude with Arm over Head)
Pen and ink on paper
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Henri's art was heavily influenced by the French modernists Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and Henri Matisse (1869-1954), both well known for their depictions of nudes. However, in Untitled (Nude with Arm over Head) Henri concentrated on the uninterrupted, flowing outline of the model's figure.
It is interesting to compare Henri's Untitled (Nude with Arm over Head) to Nude (1918, Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin) by Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Hassam's sitter modestly turns her back to the viewer, while her nakedness is enhanced by his aggressive strokes that outline the background vegetation. In contrast, Henri's nude does not pose in a demure fashion; although the lower part of her body is covered by a drape, she looks straight at the viewer. By omitting any background information or shading to create a feeling of three-dimensionality, Henri joins avant-garde artists who modernized the way female nudes were depicted.
Wilson Henry Irvine (1869-1936)
Sunlight and Shadows, 1917
Oil on canvas applied to board
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Sunlight and Shadows shows a spring landscape in Lyme, Connecticut, which was one of W.H. Irvine's preferred subjects. A cluster of young trees has just come into bloom. Behind the hillcrest, Irvine painted a view of the hills of Lyme. Even though the trees are set in light shadow, the rest of the landscape is glowing with the typical New England spring light. Irvine once explained that he enjoyed painting when there is "a kind of hazy beauty in the air."
Irvine did not move to Lyme, the famous art colony, until 1918 but started visiting New England on a regular basis in 1905-6. He not only painted in Connecticut but also on Cape Ann, Massachussetts, and along the Maine coast, where he especially enjoyed exploring the scenic views of Monhegan Island. Even though he traveled extensively throughout Europe he was always drawn back to Lyme to paint the seasonal variations and changes of light in the Connecticut landscape.
Wolf Kahn (b. 1927)
Richard Hamilton Barns, 2006
Pastel on paper
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Wolf Kahn concentrates on exploring composition and color by drawing forests, fields, and barns en plein air yet insists that his pictures are in fact not about those very same forests, fields, and barns but go beyond them. He explains that he wanted "to do Rothko over from nature" and abstracts his subjects based on mood and interpretation. Vivien Raynor, an art critic for the New York Times, has referred to Kahn's paintings as "chromatic arias."
Kahn first depicted barns in 1966, and continued up until the 1980s. He often draws the same barn from different angles, at different times of day, and at various scales to convey different meanings. This working method was most famously employed by Claude Monet (1840-1926) in his paintings of haystacks. When looking at Richard Hamilton Barns and Kahn's other drawings of the same structure seen from different angles, the viewer is able to imagine the appearance of the barn in its entirety. At the same time the viewer is able to understand how Kahn examines his surroundings and the different approaches he employed to analyze them.
John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872)
A View in Italy, 1847
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
While living in Italy, J.F. Kensett and Thomas Hicks (1823-1890) embarked on a trip together to visit Lake Nemi, Subiaco, Tivoli, and Albano, during the summer and fall of 1846. When Kensett returned to Rome he utilized the many oil studies and sketches from this trip for a series of paintings executed during the winter of the same year. A View in Italy was a result of Kensett's trip and depicts a view which many Americans easily recognized, ruins of a series of aqueducts situated in the countryside outside of Rome. These aqueducts were built in A.D. 52 during Emperor Claudius's reign and carried clean water from the Anio Novus River to Rome.
A View in Italy shows a large mass of dark trees on the left countered by a smaller grouping of trees on the right, and ruins in the middle ground with the background receding into the gray-blue haze, a typical convention established by Claude Lorrain (ca. 1604-1682). Upon closer inspection the viewer notices pieces of classical architecture in the left foreground that appear to have "JFK 1847" carved into them. The viewer's eye is led from the zigzagging path towards the aqueduct and up to the mountains in the distance. This work from Kensett's early period shows a mid-century American reflection on the fate of a previously great civilization after centuries of decline, returning to nature.
The painting is set in a period "Thomas Cole style" frame, made in Hartford or New York,
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007)
Tangled Bands (Blue), 2005
Gouache on paper
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Tangled Bands (Red), 2005
Gouache on paper
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Even though these two paintings are distinctly different from Sol LeWitt's earlier serial-based work, he stated that "[t]hese ideas are the result of my work as an artist and are subject to change as my experience changes." Gouaches had the advantage of being more opaque on paper compared to the ink washes LeWitt used on walls at the time. Twisted and curvy red lines are present in both Tangled Bands (Blue) and Tangled Bands (Red) and are natural successors to the wavy brushstrokes and curvy forms of LeWitt's wall drawings. He used the opacity of the gouaches to his favor by concealing the red lines and the background color with squiggly black lines.
Creating works such as Floor Structure (Well) (Yellow) (National Gallery of Art, 1963) as well as the instance when LeWitt buried an unknown object in a box in a secret location (1968), he disclosed his liking for secrecy, sequestered imagery and unseen domains. In order to see the Tangled Bands the viewer must look beyond the black lines into the watery depths of the paintings.
Frederick MacMonnies (1863-1937)
Bacchante and Infant Faun, c. 1894
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
MacMonnies was a very talented pupil of Augustus St. Gaudens (1848-1907), who imbued in his student a love for French sculpture in the Beaux-Arts tradition. In 1893 MacMonnies created an 83-inch bronze version of Bacchante and Infant Faun for his friend and patron, Charles McKim, of the architectural firm of McKim, Meade, and White. McKim offered the first cast to the city of Boston for the courtyard of the new renaissance-style Boston Public Library, which he had just designed for Copley Square. An incredible public outcry over the moral appropriateness of the work led to charges by the Womens' Christian Temperance Union in the Boston newspapers that the sculpture celebrated "drunken indecency" and "the worst type of harlotry with which the earth was ever afflicted." McKim eventually withdrew his gift to the Boston Public Library in disgust.
Subsequently, the board of trustees of New York's Metropolitan Museum accepted a copy of the large sculpture, and another copy went to the Luxembourg Museum in Paris.
MacMonnies profited from the controversy as he gained public recognition for his art. He made copies of "Bacchante" in 18 and 30 inch versions which were very popular with collectors.
In 1894 MacMonnies visited Naples and Pompeii. He wrote, "The more of Pagan art I saw, the more I liked it." His reflections on "the spirit of the antique" were translated into sculpture which achieved great critical acclaim in his time, and continue to delight audiences today.
Lawrence Mazzanovich (1872-1959)
Autumn Afternoon, ca. 1915­20
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
After a brief and successful stint as an illustrator, Lawrence Mazzanovich traveled to Europe in 1903. He studied landscape painting in France and Italy, which enabled him to abandon illustration, and exhibited work in the Barbizon style at competitions and at Paris Salon with great success. Just before returning to the United States, Mazzanovich began experimenting with Tonalism and Impressionism.
Down the coast from the already thriving Old Lyme and Cos Cob art colonies, commercial illustrators established the Westport art colony between 1899 and 1907. After moving there upon his return to the United States, Mazzanovich was inspired by its landscape. His technique developed from Impressionism into a Pointillist and color-driven Post-Impressionist style while living there.
Autumn Afternoon explores the varying effects of light and atmosphere. The canvas shows Mazzanovich turning away from strictly Tonalist subject matter, yet he retains the lively surface and rich color palette that garnered him fame. He employs a conventional composition with shadows and modeling not present in earlier works. The new sense of decorative patterning, organization of forms, and brilliant colors links the work to Post-Impressionist and decorative Impressionist traditions. Autumn Afternoon is a perfect example of Mazzanovich's broken brushwork combined with a tendency toward symmetry, which resulted in unnatural yet representational landscapes. It has been said "subjects of themselves are of slight importance to Mazzanovich. What he works for is effects of light and right, poetic impressions, tender and dream-like color harmonies."
Graydon Parrish (b. 1970)
Rose, 2009
Oil on panel
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
When looking at The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001 (2006; New Britain Museum of American Art), one of the many details that struck Dr. McLaughlin as particularly beautiful was the inclusion of dozens of roses. Thus, McLaughlin asked Graydon Parrish for a smaller, personal commission.
In The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy, the red roses are painted onto fallen scraps of paper. These roses recall the many flowers placed in various locations around the city but especially in front of New York fire stations in the days just after 9/11. Not only are the flowers reminescent of roses used at funerals but they also help remind us that there was and will be beauty in the world. As a result, they become part of the mourners' coming to terms with and acceptance of death.
Rose shows a beautifully rendered flower situated a little off-center due to the inclusion of the stem and leaves. The rose petals are painted in various shades of pink and the wax-like texture of the leaves is conveyed beautifully with the light shown reflected off of them. This painting is an excellent example of Parrish's classical approach to painting and his exceptional technical skills.
William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)
Reclining Nude
Pencil on paper
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin.
Beginning in 1887, William McGregor Paxton supplemented his high school education with evening classes at the Cowles School of Art in Boston under the tutelage of Dennis Miller Bunker (1861-1890), a member of the "Boston School" of artists who had studied in Paris and returned to Boston. In 1889 Paxton himself went to Paris to study under Bunker's former teacher Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) at the École de Beaux-Arts. Gérôme had been a pupil of Jean-August-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), making Paxton an artistic descendant of Ingres, who had a profound influence upon Paxton.
Long after he left France, Paxton executed an exact copy of Ingres's Odalisque with a Slave (1839-40; Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums) while it hung in the Philadelphia home of a friend. Although not a copy, Reclining Nude is illustrative of Ingres's lasting influence on Paxton. The pose of Paxton's nude is nearly identical to those in Ingres's Odalisque with a Slave and A Sleeping Odalisque (ca. 1830; Victoria and Albert Museum). Paxton's nude, like those of Ingres, verges on being a pinup, but modesty made both artists stop short of showing overtly erotic details. Paxton's work goes beyond a simple life drawing and verges on becoming an homage to a favored artist, one to whom he owed his artistic heritage.
Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860)
George Washington, ca. 1824
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
In 1795 George Washington posed for the seventeen-year-old Rembrandt Peale -- it was the last portrait (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) of the President to be done from life. Apparently, Charles W. Peale (1741-1827), Rembrandt's father, arranged for and attended the sessions. Even after his sittings with Washington, Peale sought to capture an ideal image of the first president. Some of Peale's copies show Washington on horseback, others behind a stonework oval, and others wearing various uniforms.
This version of Washington is a replica of a portrait type established by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). In 1995, Lillian Miller, editor of the Peale Family Papers, suggested that George Washington is an unfinished work -- a trial executed by Peale sometime after 1824. In this painting Peale concentrated on the eyes and nose and was less concerned with the remaining features, as seen in the sketchlike representation of the jabot and suit and "the liney quality around the nose and eyes [as well as] the heavier pencilling around the lower hairline." Thus, the painting provides the viewer with an opportunity to see Peale's working method and explore the manner in which the artist approached this famous subject.
Henry Rankin Poore (1859-1940)
The Horse Pasture
Oil on panel
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
The Horse Pasture is set in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the site of the artists' colony founded by Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916). The boarding house run by arts patron Florence Griswold became the focal point of Old Lyme circa 1900. Poore was among the first artists to stay there. Other prominent artists who visited included Childe Hassam (1859-1935) and Willard Metcalf (1858-1925). Poore and Ranger left their stamp on the boarding house by painting the panels of its doors -- a common custom at the country inns of the French art colonies of Barbizon, Pont-Aven, and Giverny, where artists would often lodge.
The Horse Pasture shows the New England landscape and animals as well as figures for which Poore is known. The palette is restricted to green, brown, and yellow with pink in the girl's dress and the sky and dark blue in the vegetation in the background. The soft early morning light and haze create a peaceful, dreamlike feeling. This painting makes it easy to understand why Poore and others were drawn to the beauty of Connecticut.
Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916)
A Ledge of Rock, 1914
Oil on panel
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Henry Ward Ranger considered Old Lyme to be the American equivalent of Barbizon, the famous French art colony. In this French village, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, artists started to paint rural scenes in soft color harmonies. At the beginning of his career, Ranger studied this painting style in France and the Netherlands. His goal was to establish an artist colony in the States and Old Lyme embodied everything that Ranger had been looking for.
Ranger depicts an intimate view of the landscape, which he achieved through painting outdoors and experiencing nature first-hand. Even though Ranger painted his large-scale oil paintings in his studio, he started his small-scale oil panels, such as A Ledge of Rock, outside and finished them indoors. The painting shows an abundance of trees, large boulders, and a rock ledge charateristic of the geology of the region.
A Ledge of Rock also shows various components that define Ranger's style, such as carefully modulated colors, expressive paint strokes, and a jewel-like paint surface accentuated by translucent glazes that convey the feeling and character of the landscape of Old Lyme.
Henry Ward Ranger (1858-1916)
Interior of a Wood, 1913
Oil on panel
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
The emergence of the Barbizon School coincided with an increased interest in the desire to paint within the landscape itself. Americans were introduced to the Barbizon style through William Morris Hunt (1824-1879), who had studied with the masters of the Barbizon School firsthand and became the first American artist to paint in the Barbizon style.
Henry Ward Ranger was a master of creating poetic woodland interiors. He merged European art with American subjects to create landscapes that convey a deep sense of history and rural way of life. Pastoral vistas such as farm scenes and fields were vanishing at the time as America changed from an agrarian to an industrial society. In Interior of a Wood, the influence of the Barbizon School is evident in Ranger's loose brushstrokes, tonal palette, and poetic sentiment. The canvas captures the splendor of a forest on an autumn day and the perspective draws the viewer in. The play of light and shadow within the lush vegetation creates a glow that fills the painting.
Aaron Draper Shattuck (1832-1928)
Landscape, Sunset over the Hills
Oil on artist's board
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
At first glance Landscape, Sunset over the Hills, which is bathed in shadow, seems empty. But upon closer inspection one can see several sheep in the foreground as well as a farmhouse with its windows illuminated on the left hand side of the painting. When looking at the lake one can also see the trees' reflections in the water as well as the ripples in the water that are in fact reflections of the clouds in the sky. In Landscape, Sunset over the Hills Aaron Draper Shattuck captured the peaceful and subdued atmosphere of twilight. The trees and the mountains, rendered in silhouette, create an ideal contrast with the yellow and red shades in the sky. One can also recognize a pattern in the clouds. The ones on the left drift towards the center of the painting, whereas the ones on the right move towards where the sun has just set.
Even though Shattuck was a successful painter, his work had faded into complete obscurity by the early twentieth century. Landscape, Sunset over the Hills is an excellent example of Hudson River School painting and proves why Shattuck has more recently been recognized as an important American painter of the nineteenth century.
John Sloan (1871-1951)
Connoisseurs of Prints,
from the series New York City Life, 1905
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
This etching shows that John Sloan did not only think about his art but also its intended audience. In Connoisseurs of Prints Sloan focused on depicting people viewing, critiquing, and becoming confused by artworks. The sardonic undertones of the etchings affirm Sloan's keen eye and satiric humor. Connoisseurs of Prints is based on actual observation Sloan made at an auction exhibition at the old American Art Galleries on 23rd Street in New York City.
Sloan deliberately placed the male viewer, in the light suit and holding a magnifying glass, next to the female viewer. In this way Sloan created a contrast of individual looking and appraisal. As a contrasting element, Sloan included the two older gentlemen, who epitomize the idea of acquired knowledge due to their experience of collecting artworks. On the left, Sloan depicted a wealthy lady holding an auction catalog. It is hard to decide whether her facial expression is that of horror at the high prices of the artworks or one of anticipation before the auction begins.
John Sloan (1871-1951)
The Picture Buyer, 1911
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
John Sloan brilliantly combined the different cultures surrounding him in New York City into a critical and visual message showing everyday life. The Picture Buyer could have been a statement about Sloan organizing the independent exhibition of his artist friends known as The Eight at the Macbeth Gallery in 1908. This involvement gave him first-hand knowledge of the commercial aspects of the art world.
Sloan entered The Picture Buyer in 1913 into the notorious Armory Show, which heralded the acceptance of modern art in this country. At this exhibition, current and future collectors and art buyers could laugh at Sloan's print or even at themselves while they considered their next purchases. This etching conveys Sloan's disparaging but at the same time amusing reaction to buyers "validating" art with their money. He founded the Society of Independent Artists, which was an association of avant-garde artists. In 1916, he became a member of the faculty at the Art Students League and taught generations of influential modernist artists.
Edward Gregory Smith (1880-1961)
By the Edge of the Lieutenant River, Old Lyme, CT, 1915
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Edward Gregory Smith began staying in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the location of the well known artists colony, year-round in 1916. He and his wife, Annie, built a house and a studio there. Unfortunately, in 1925 a fire destroyed the studio and most of Smith's paintings. During winters, Smith remained in Connecticut while Annie took the children to Florida.
Florence Griswold, arts patron running the Griswold Boarding House, turned it into an important meeting place for various American Impressionist artists.The Griswold House overlooks the short Lieutenant River, which connects with the Connecticut River. Thus, the Lieutenant River was a popular subject for the artists of Old Lyme. Smith's canvas depicts a beautifully rendered tree arching gracefully over the river. The pastel colors of the autumn leaves on the opposite shore are reflected in the water, appearing both liquid and solid. A small blue boat peeps out behind a rock in front of the tree. The high key of the light green grass contrasts with the dark leaves of the tree rendered in broken brushstrokes. Smith's painting shows the beauty of Old Lyme through its colorful depiction of the lush natural surroundings of the Griswold House.
Michael Theise (b.1959)
Dr. McLaughlin's Rack Picture, 2000
Oil on board
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Michael Theise was born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Milford, Connecticut. He has produced trompe l'oeil paintings since his formal training at the Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut. Inspired by the deception, imagination, and skill required in this genre, Theise focuses on creating paintings that take trompe l'oeil from the nineteenth into the twenty-first century. However, he frequently references the original masters of trompe l'oeil, such as John Haberle (1856-1933), William Michael Harnett (1848-1892), and John Frederick Peto (1854-1907), in the details of his paintings.
The present work is a "rack picture," with clues to the identity of the picture's owner seemingly pinned beneath the ribbons of a letter rack. Rack pictures were a popular device of nineteenth-century trompe l'oeil artists, as these compositions allowed them to flaunt their technical skills and literally "fool the eye."
As with the past masters of this style, Theise's work challenges the viewer to decide (without touching!) whether it is the object or a representation of the object one sees.
Peter Waite (b. 1950)
Hill-Stead, 2010
Acrylic on aluminum panel
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Peter Waite's paintings show locations that have a concealed historical significance or elicit a certain type of feeling. For example, the bridge in Middletown, with its steel girders towering above people's heads conveys the humidity and weight of a typical Connecticut summer. In his paintings, Waite does not simply duplicate the world but in fact always alters it.
In Hill-Stead the viewer is placed inside a gazebo. A painstakingly rendered floor and an elaborately built roof provide refuge from the stifling heat. The artist explores a contrast between a cool interior and a hot, vividly lit interior. The benches on both sides of the gazebo invite the viewer to pause and linger in the shaded area. At the same time the latticework protects the viewer from the bright light and heat outside. The objective of the painting is to guide the viewer through the gazebo to the sundial positioned in direct sunlight. The exterior is bright and overwhelms the viewer's senses after the cool interior of the gazebo.
The Hill-Stead was the home of Theodate Pope Riddle (1867-1946) and today serves as a museum boasting one of the finest, small collections of French Impressionist paintings in the nation. The gazebo is at the center of Riddle's sunken garden, designed by noted landscape architect Beatrix Ferrand. Today, the house and garden are popular tourist destinations.
John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926)
East Rock, New Haven
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
John Ferguson Weir was part of the Weir Dynasty, with his father being Robert W. Weir (1803-1889), a professor of drawing at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and his brother, Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), an important American Impressionist painter.
East Rock is a much visited basalt ridge situated between New Haven and Hamden, Connecticut. Weir painted his first known painting of East Rock in ca. 1900, which he exhibited at the National Academy. In 1880, the ridge and the area surrounding it became East Rock Park and a road was also built to facilitate access to the summit.
Weir painted at least five different versions of East Rock. Two of these paintings, East Rock, New Haven and New Haven from East Rock (ca. 1900-1901; New Haven Museum and Historical Society), could be read as companion pieces since both depict ample vegetation, loose brushstrokes, and an excellent quality of light. New Haven from East Rock shows the ridge situated to the left in the painting with a southwestern view towards the factories of the town. In contrast, East Rock, New Haven depicts the ridge on the right-hand side of the painting with a northeastern view, approaching East Rock from New Haven.
The loose brushwork, the extensive foliage and also the focus on light convey a feeling of Impressionism, which was the style that Weir used from the 1890s until the early 1900s.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
Billingsgate, 1859
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
The American expatriate James Abbott McNeill Whistler spent the majority of his career between London and Paris. He had profound influence on British, European, and American art.
During August of 1859, Whistler wandered throughout London, especially the dockyards along the Thames. These wanderings resulted in a series of etchings, The Thames Set, which included Billingsgate. In 1870, steel plates were made of the originals to ease mass production as a result of their popularity.
Whistler wanted to show the working men and their connection to the Thames River and how it sustained their livelihoods. Upon closer inspection one realizes that the scene is reversed in the print since Whistler etched it as he saw it. Billingsgate is the furthest west Whistler ventured while working on his Thames Set. In the distance one can see the London Bridge as well as Saint Saviour's Church (Southwark Cathedral).
Whistler's etchings were considered revolutionary at the time and helped build his growing reputation as a talented artist.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903)
La Robe Rouge, 1894
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
James Abbott McNeill Whistler had quite an extravagant personality, oftentimes as provocative as the art he created. Even though he was prone to argue with his fellow artists, patrons and critics he was always respectful towards his mother and his wife, Beatrix, the widow of his friend, the architect E.W. Godwin (1833-1886).
The title of this lithograph, which translates to "the red dress," provides the only clue to the color of the dress. Beatrix is shown reclining on a sofa in the couple's drawing room in their Paris home. "Trixy's" head is resting on a pillow and her hands are placed elegantly at her waist. Depicting his models and mistresses reposing on sofas or chaise longues is a common thread running through Whistler's work.
As an affectionate addition, Whistler signed this work with his well-known butterfly-shaped monogram. The depiction of this type of intimate moment shows Whistler's passion for drawing and for his muse.
La Robe Rouge proved to be one of the artist's favorite lithographs. Thomas Way, Whistler's London lithographic producer, had it printed in large format for the publication The Studio.
Thomas Worthington Whittredge (1820­1910)
Catskill Mountains Twilight, ca. 1863­65
Oil on board
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
In Thomas Worthington Whittredge's Catskill Mountains Twilight, both his aesthetic preferences and those of his Hudson River School peers, particularly Asher B. Durand (1796-1886), are evident. The small size and intimate brushwork indicate that the sketch was done from nature as does the absence of a signature. The scene is of a valley at dusk, as the sun's rays barely peek over the mountains. The brushwork in the sky and the tree in the foreground are precisely rendered, which is rather astonishing considering the small size of the canvas. The middle ground is more roughly painted, yet the colors observed in nature keep the view accurate and believable.
In the tradition of the Hudson River School and the era of Romanticism, there is the smallest hint of human life or at least of civilization. The two spiraling wafts of smoke at the left reveal the presence of man, evoking the woodland home of the Native Americans who lived in the area at the time.
Prominent art historian Anthony F. Janson, who published a history of Whittredge's work, stated that this little gem of a picture is the "finest sketch made from nature by the artist's hand."
Guy C. Wiggins (1883-1962)
Times Square, 1931
Oil on board
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
In the late 1920s Guy C. Wiggins became well known for his scenes of New York City streets in winter, which he often painted from office windows. Wiggins's choice of urban subject matter may have stemmed from his early study of architecture as well as the influence of Robert Henri (1865-1929) and The Eight. While Wiggins's snow scenes usually included a solitary figure, Times Square shows a bustle of vehicles fighting their way through the snow in the busy traffic. The palette is limited to various grays with yellow and red highlights from office windows, building façades, and cars.
Since his snowscapes show dense veils of snow, Wiggins was challenged by working with vast areas of white in the same way that John H. Twachtman (1853-1902) was. Wiggins instead chose to focus on color and, as a result, his paintings conveyed a luminosity for which he became known. Art historian Adrienne Walt suggests that Childe Hassam (1859-1935) had a significant impact on Wiggins, especially his later New York snow scenes that include flags.
Tom Yost (b.1957)
Sunset from Painter Ridge Road I, 2004
Oil on canvas
Collection of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin
Originally from Oregon, Oxford, Connecticut based artist Tom Yost is not only an accomplished painter, but also a gifted art restorer. His paintings often depict the rural landscape of Connecticut in a realist style. These traditional New England scenes focus on the working farms and open land of our area. American Art Collector stated that Yost's "work as a conservator of famous American art brings a classical feel and longevity to his paintings." In the past two Annual Members Exhibitions at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Yost won the top prize.
Sunset from Painter Ridge Road I shows a Connecticut landscape situated near Washington, Connecticut, bathed in the fading light of sunset with the sky rendered in different shades of red and purple. This painting depicts the vast expanse of a New England landscape where one can see for miles without any signs of civilization.
Yost states: "My objective as a landscape painter is to create realistic images that go beyond merely depicting a scene. It is my intent to capture the atmospheric quality of that location and to impart that sense of a special place and time."

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