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Poppies, Isles of Shoals and Celia Thaxter's Garden, Isles of Shoals, Maine are two fairly similar artworks by Childe Hassam. They capture a view from the garden of his poet friend.
They would spend summers together within her house and invite other literary and artistic figures to join them for informal get-togethers. She would even use of one her rooms as a makeshift gallery, allowing people to buy and sell different works which would be hung around the room. At the foot of her garden the artist could see a rocky environment which inspired several landscape paintings. He loved the contrast between the wild flowers growing in the foreground and the much harsher environment found beyond. He felt very comfortable in her company and would work from her house and also outside too. In this composition we find the sea sweeping across the piece, with isolated sections of rock breaking up the flow of the waves. In other examples he would actually head out onto these rocks and work from them directly. The artist loved to study changing seasons and conditions, but in both of these paintings he chose a particularly calm and tranquil day in order to paint the location in the best light possible.
Poppies, Isles of Shoals was completed in 1894 and can now be found in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, which is based in Washington D.C., USA. The artist is known to have visited this location over the period of 1880-1894, and only stopped at that point because of the death of his friend. The whole property therefore became an important part of his life too, and he always looked forward to spending part of his summer in this location. One of the memorable items from this particular composition is the sailing boat which comes past, which was a rare sign of humanity within these otherwise nature-dominant pieces. The colours are entirely typical of the Impressionists and he took a great amount from French art having lived in and visited the country many times across his lifetime. He was passionate about both his native US and also the cultural side of the French nation as well.
The landscape in the background is known as Babb's Rock and is consistent with the whole island itself. Appledore Island itself was a part of the larger Isles of Shoals, which are based in New Hampshire, USA. The Impressionist within Hassam would have been excited by the opportunity to create compositions which included so many different aspects of nature, from strong waves, to harsh rock formations, to the green and bright tones of plants and flowers which were growing close by. The summer was full of light too, giving everything that the artist could possibly wish for, encouraging him to paint this view several times over the period of a number of years.