Sad to say as an art teacher, I never really got excited about American Art
History, even though I was myself an artist for near 27 years...until about
eight years ago when I took my easel outside to paint.
The difficulties of painting on location in fickel elusive light certainly
leads one to observe the efforts of others. From there...I absorbed myself
into the early history of American Impressionists, and in my own
opinion...while Europe has its founders of Impressionism, and yes...while
many of our artists went their to train, I think the best Impressionists
were actually here in this country.
I think there are important schools of this painting period that are
important to know such as the Hope Buck County School of Pennsylvania, the
Cape Cod School...The New York Student Art League...and the California Plein
To me...one of my very favorites as a painter is Singer Sargent...but more
so after he tired and grew weary of portraiture and the business side of it
and went off independently wealthy to paint landscapes and architectural
structures such as fountain sculptures, buildings and so forth.
But what many do not know is that there was an American painter that was
second in all popularity in sales to Sargent, a Buck County Impressionist
painter by the name of Edward Redfield. A very colorful
personality...bringing canvases as large as 50"x 56" or so into the field or
forests, even tying them to trees to support them while painting. Some
artists with that habit would even leave the unfinished canvas tied to the
trees and come back the next day. Redfield though would start AND finish
such a large size in one day. Working morning to late afternoon.
Can't believe it took more than half my life to become acquainted with him.
It was our landscape painters that largely led to the education of the
congress and government officials in general that in turn led to movements
to create national parks. So many good ones. Yes, Thomas Moran....but then
there are others to know such as Emille Gruppe, Edgay Payne, Williard
Metcalf, W.M. Chase, Charles Hawthorne, John Carlson,
...all very important influential painters.
Carl Rungius, a German emigrant...was the first professional wildlife
artist, doing many plein airs in the mountains and turning around to paint
very large canvases from those plein airs instudio adding wildlife to them.
Today's best artists in the genre of nature to be aware of are Clyde
Aspevig, Matt Smith, Scott Christensen, Marc Hanson, Richard Schmid, and I'm
happy to say I know a number of them. Honored...