Robert Emmett Owen, ca. 1930s, Owen Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Lisa N. Peters
Our exhibition of the art of Charles Warren Eaton and Robert Emmett Owen provides a chance to look again at the works of these two American landscape painters (who both used their first and middle names), considering the predominant character of their art as well as the ways they followed their own paths.
Eaton represented the Tonalist concern with the ineffable spirit in nature, considered particularly evident at dawn and dusk, but he also diverged into the daylight of Impressionism in views of Belgium, Holland, and especially of Lake Como, Italy, and he often structured pine trees and other natural forms into flat, simplified patterns that accorded with Arts and Crafts ideas.
Owen adopted an Impressionist style inspired by the work he saw in New York galleries by such artists as John Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, and Willard Metcalf. But whereas these painters of an earlier generation had focused on the places where they lived and summered, the train limiting the scope of their travel, Owen derived his material from drives he took by automobile throughout New England, where he got out a folding chair and paint box to record the scenery that caught his eye, as he may be seen in the photograph pictured here. Read the rest of this entry »