Skip to Content

Newfields, New Hampshire

Showing 1 of 1


Newfields, New Hampshire

watercolor on paper
13 3/4 in. x 19 3/4 in. (34.93 cm x 50.17 cm)
Currier Funds, 1963.1

Childe Hassam

The year 1906 was a remarkable one for Childe Hassam: he was named an academician of the National Academy of Design and won the Carnegie Prize awarded by the Society of American Artists, the Walter Lippincott Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a Third Prize Award at the Worcester Art Museum's Ninth Annual Exhibition. It was also an unusually peripatetic year, even for an artist who styled himself "the Marco Polo of the painters." Hassam was in New York in the winter, and in the months that followed he made at least four separate trips to Old Lyme, Connecticut, and also went to Branchville and New London, Connecticut, to Long Island, and to the Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire. In most of these places, he worked on major canvases. His visit to Newfields, on the other hand, seems to have been purely for relaxation, and the watercolor he painted there has all the hallmarks of a work done purely for the artist's pleasure.
Hassam probably stopped at Newfields, located several miles inland from Portsmouth, in August 1906, when he was based on the Isles of Shoals. He had been coming to New Hampshire since the early 1880s, frequently as the guest of poet Celia Thaxter, whose dazzling gardens at Appledore, Isles of Shoals, had often been a subject for his brush. Hassam seems to have produced little work at Newfields, although the pretty country town inspired at least one other watercolor, executed in August of 1907, and an etching and drypoint completed in 1916. His decision to record his impressions of this small, picturesque town in watercolor reflects his lifelong interest in the medium.
Hassam's rendering of Newfields on a high summer day shows him to be a master of the transparent wash technique: the fields in the foreground and the trees in the middle distance are rendered in a succession of long strokes of wet pigment, the very liquidity of the paint conveying the shimmering heat of an August day. The sky-which fills two thirds of the picture-was painted even more wetly, with a series of loose, parallel strokes and pools of color that evoke the movement of clouds across the sky. Hassam's palette consists of the bright blues and greens he favored in the contemporary landscapes he made in oils, accented with dots of red on the chimneys. The white of the paper, used to define the reflections of the clouds in the pond and the houses at center, adds to the brilliance of the image. Hassam organized his composition into a series of horizontal bands, a measured structure that suggests stability, while his energetic brushstrokes create a sense of impending atmospheric change. Newfields, New Hampshire was undoubtedly painted quite rapidly, probably at a single sitting. It reveals no underdrawing that would indicate careful planning in advance of picking up the brush, and no corrections or changes of mind. Rather, it is direct, spontaneous, and self-confident; Hassam would have considered it a good day's work.



"A Watercolor by Childe Hassam." The Currier Gallery of Art Bulletin, March 1963, pp. 1-3.

Ulrich W. Hiesinger. Childe Hassam: American Impressionist. Munich and New York: Prestel-Verlag, 1994.

1965 "Childe Hassam: a Retrospective Exhibition." Organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Traveled to: Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, April 30 - Aug. 1; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Aug. 17 - Sept. 19; Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, Sept. 28 - Oct. 31; The Gallery of Modern Art, New York, NY, Nov. 16 - Dec. 19.
1966 New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, NH, "Two Centuries of Painting in New Hampshire." May 9 - 30.

1972 "Child Hassam Retrospective." Organized by the University of Arizona. Traveled to: University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, Feb. 5 - Mar. 5, 1972; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, March 25 - April 30.

1976-1977 DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA, "Home to Hopper: Sixty Years of American Watercolors." Dec. 12, 1976 - Feb. 6, 1977.

1980 Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, 'More Than Meets the Eye; Hidden Collections of the Currier Gallery of Art." Jan. 12 - Mar. 2.

1980 Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, "Watercolors from the Permanent Collection." March 3 - May 4.

1985 Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, "Watercolors from the Permanent Collection." June 4 - Aug. 25.

1987 Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, "Watercolors from the Permanent Collection." May 19 - July 19.

1989 Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, "Glistening Washes: American Watercolors from the Permanent Collection." May 9 - July 9.

1994 Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, "Brush to Paper: Masterpieces of American Watercolor from the Currier." March 8 - May 15.

1995-1997 "American Art from the Currier Gallery of Art." Organized by the Currier Gallery of Art and the American Federation of Arts. Traveled to: Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL, Dec. 3, 1995 - Jan. 28, 1996; Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, FL, Mar. 15 - Apr. 7, 1996; Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, VA, Aug. 10 - Oct. 13, 1996; The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN, Feb. 2 - Mar. 30, 1997; Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA, Apr. 25 - June 22, 1997; Currier Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, July 18 - Sept. 8, 1997, cat. no. 25. (Not shown at Orlando, Palm Beach or Roanoke).

2010 Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH, "From Homer to Hopper: American Watercolor Masterworks from the Currier Museum of Art." March 6 - June 7.

Your current search criteria is: Object is "Newfields, New Hampshire".