Allen Tucker’s Mountain Scenes: An Intriguing Parallel

Allen Tucker, "Mountain Landscape," oil on canvas, 30 x  25 inches

Allen Tucker, "Mountain Landscape," oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches

Lisa N. Peters

Several recent visitors to the gallery have pointed out the similarity between a number of the mountain paintings Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) created in Maine in 1906-9 and mountain paintings by Allen Tucker (1866-1939) in our current exhibition, including Mountain Landscape and Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  Neither work by Tucker is dated but they reflect some of the same sources and interests as Hartley’s. Read the rest of this entry »

Branching Out (Literally) On the Roads of New England: Paintings by Robert Emmett Owen (1878-1957)

Owen at side of the Road

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 »

Branching Out (Literally): Paintings by Charles Warren Eaton

Lisa N. Peters

Eaton photo

Charles Warren Eaton, photograph from "Centennial Anniversary of 'The Pine Tree Artist,'" "East Orange Record," March 14, 1957.

American landscape painters at the turn of the twentieth century are usually divided into those who followed in the mode of the French Impressionists and those who adhered to the style known as American Tonalism.  The chance to see the differences in these approaches is made possible by the exhibition opening at the gallery on December 8, which pairs the art of Charles Warren Eaton (1857-1937), who worked in a Tonalist idiom, with that of Robert Emmett Owen (1878-1957), who used an Impressionist method.  At the same time, in the example of these two artists, the exhibition demonstrates the ways in which American artists often crossed over between the two styles and found their own voices in response to their subjects.

Eaton, who was twenty-one years younger than Owen, held a deep admiration for the work of George Inness, and was among few of Inness’s many followers to develop a personal relationship with this artist who is generally considered the progenitor of Tonalism.  Apparently Inness returned the appreciation, as he stopped in Eaton’s studio one day, and finding the younger artist out, came back the next day to buy one of Eaton’s paintings.  For a time, Eaton even shared his studio with Inness in Montclair, New Jersey. Eaton was also part of a community of Inness disciples in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Read the rest of this entry »

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