Eye Candy for Today: Childe Hassam’s The Victorian Chair

The Victorian Chair, Childe Hassam
The Victorian Chair, Childe Hassam

Link is to the Google Art Project; downloadable high-resolution file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum (which also has a zoom feature, though the Google one is a bit smoother).

What a wonderful portrait — sensitive and delicate from the intended viewing distance — but when you get close enough to see the painter’s hand, it’s quite different. He’s chiseled the face out of crisp, sculptural brush strokes; the arms are smoothed; and the hands somewhat in between the two extremes. The sitter’s hair is flecked with highlights; her chair is a circus of color and her dress is a windblown fury of paint marks held together only by Hassam’s extraordinary command of color and value.


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