Geraniums Childe Hassam Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Geraniums is a charming artwork which captures many of the key attributes of Impressionist art. Childe Hassam completed this piece in 1888, at a time when flowers and plants would appear within many of his artworks.

The artist would regularly work from the comfort of a friend's garden, capturing stunning scenes which he would carefully plan. In this example he features a row of plant pots which have been arranged just outside a doorway or window. A young woman is occupied with her day to the left hand side, and appears unaware of the artist's presence. She is protected from the strong sunlight as she shields herself behind the charming architecture. A white wall delivers light to the scene and reflects the sunshine from above across the foreground of the painting. In the near foreground we find two metal watering cans, placed ready to be used for the flowers that sit nearby. We then see three rows of plants, which lead up to around the waist of the lady behind. Each row gets wider and holds larger pots as they move up in height. At the very top we find three large pots with multiple flower heads and these are able to more easily accept any incoming wind. Those below are kept closer together to protect themselves and this also brings a blanket of red paint across that part of the composition.

Childe Hassam may have repositioned some of the pots in order to achieve the right balance to his painting - see how the vertical plants come in from the right to provide a strong structure to his work. He may just have been fortunate in how he positioned himself for Geraniums, but is seems more likely that amendments were made prior to starting this work. He also allows a good variety of lighting here as well, with shadows cast over the lower rows of flowers. Poppies appear in some of his other paintings, whilst he chooses to capture Geraniums here - colour may actually have been more of a consideration to him than the species itself. This artwork may not be one of his most famous paintings, but it is undeniably charming. It is listed as being within The Hyde Collection and stands at 18 1/4 inches by 12 15/16 inches in size. The Hyde Collection resides within New York and derives from a private collection for the Hyde family which can now be visited by the public.

Much of Hassam's career was devoted to two main subjects, namely cityscapes and also nature. This was a direct influence from the French Impressionists who did likewise. The flower paintings of Hassam offer a gentle touch to the canvas which has retained great popularity with the public ever since he completed these artworks in the late 19th century. Other examples of his work in this genre included Celia Thaxter's Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine, The South Ledges, Appledore and Poppies, Isles of Shoals. He seemed to particularly like domestic gardens, so long as there was an element of wildness to them so that his compositions would not appear to be too contrived. He played a key role in convincing the American public of the merits of Impressionist art, and this enabled himself plus many others to start to sell more of their work across the country.