Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Childe Hassam gouache study

Columbian Exposition, Chicago; Childe Hassam, gouache on toned paper
Columbian Exposition, Chicago; Childe Hassam

Gouache on tan paper, 10 5/8 x 14 in. (27.0 x 35.6 cm). Image on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the collection of the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Almost monochromatic — though the tan paper and the use of blue give it a sensation of subtle color —this study of one of the buildings of the Chicago World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition of 1893 (so named to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas), showcases the simultaneous qualities of precision and casual sketchiness for which gouache is ideally suited.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Childe Hassam gouache study”

  1. Melissa Avatar

    Explain to me the difference in parlance between a “study” and a “painting.” I’d call this a painting and be proud to do so, had I painted it! Is it because it’s on paper? because so are all watercolors, and they are paintings…?

    1. Actually, it could be either. I’ve taken the liberty of calling it a “study” because if its semi-monochromatic nature and the sketch-like character of the sky and water, and because, to my knowledge, Hassam rarely did finished presentation paintings in gouache. I think this was for his personal pursuit, rather than intended as a gallery piece. I’ll point out that I could easily be wrong in my assumptions.