The Church at Gloucester Childe Hassam Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Within The Church at Gloucester, artist Childe Hassam allows architecture to take centre stage. This piece makes use of many of the fundamentals of Impressionist art, all of which he had learnt during his time living in France several decades earlier.

This particular painting is dated at 1918 and its upbeat mood perhaps reflects wider society at that time which was coming out of WWI after a turbulent few years. The artist allows sunlight to envelop the church, giving it a glow from the back of the painting. Our line of vision is led down a path, literally, thanks to two rows of trees which help to direct our eyes towards the church in the distance. The trees themselves also allow the artist to vary the shade, which was another common element within outdoor based Impressionist paintings. We can also make out a clear blue sky but in truth most of this is covered by the combination of nature and architecture. There were two main bodies of work within this artist's career, namely those based around nature and also a large number of cityscapes and within The Church at Gloucester, Hassam essentially marries the two together.

Many have connected the later work of Edward Hopper to the career of Hassam and the latter would regularly feature certain villages around New England as inspiration for his work. This particular building is located in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with the trees themselves being listed as American elms, which was yet another patriotic reference from his career and probably not just a mere coincidence. The church was known to stand for freedom of expression and respect to all which may have attracted this open minded individual. We do know that the artist was also producing a number of his flag paintings at around this time and so this piece here was another patriotic expression, though with a touch more subtlety in this case.

This painting can be found today within the collection of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA. This important institution hosts a fine selection of American art, as well as a wider collection of art and antiquities from all manner of other regions, cultures and civilisations. This particular piece would be a popular addition because of its connection to a key time in the left of the country, where it was starting to get back to normal after the Great War, but also about to head into a great financial turbulence which would bring new problems. Hassam was hugely patriotic and this helped him to build a reputation over time, encouraging him to work tirelessly and sell many paintings and lithographs across his lifetime. They all now enjoy large valuations, on the rare occasions that any of them come up at auction.

The Church at Gloucester in Detail Childe Hassam