Early Summer, Lake George by Childe Hassam

Name: Early Summer, Lake George | Artist: Childe Hassam Media: Watercolor on paper | Year(s): ca. 1897
Childe Hassam | Early Summer, Lake George | ca. 1897 | Watercolor on paper | Frederic Remington Art Museum, Ogdensburg, NY

About the Work

Childe Hassam was deemed "the" American Impressionist. While his art emulated French Impressionism, Hassam maintained his inspiration came from John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, and other early-nineteenth-century English artists who had painted outdoors. He may have stressed this connection because of the pride he took in his English ancestors having settled in Massachusetts in the seventeenth century.

Early Summer, Lake George, another painting from Remington's personal collection, exemplifies Hassam's skillful handling of the difficult medium of watercolor. As a young artist, he traveled to Great Britain, where he created watercolors that a Boston gallery exhibited in 1883. Later, in 1890, after three years of study in Paris, Hassam co-founded and served as first president of the New York Water-Color Club, and was invited to join the American Water Color Society. Early Summer, Lake George appeared in the Society's 1898 annual exhibition. When it entered Frederic Remington's collection is unknown.

Hassam and Remington met in 1889. Their commonalities included: both had the same first name (Hassam's was spelled "Frederick," which he dropped in 1882), both were illustrators, both were nativists in regard to politics, both were extraordinarily prolific artists, and both played as hard as they worked. Each admired the other's art. Remington nicknamed Hassam "Muley," after reading an account of Muley Abul Hassan, who became Sultan of Granada, Spain, in 1465. Hassam, in turn, claimed a popular anecdote about his friend: "One day Remington came to my studio. . . and looked at one of my pictures. He said, 'Hell, I have an old aunt upstate who can knit a better picture than that'.'' The two men clearly enjoyed one another's company; in a diary entry Remington noted: "Lunched at Players—Muley Hassam came in—very amusing day." Early Summer, Lake George is a splendid token of the artists' amiable relationship.