Frederick Childe Hassam (October 17, 1859 – August 27, 1935) was an American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes. Along with Mary Cassatt and John Henry Twachtman, Hassam was instrumental in promulgating Impressionism to American collectors, dealers, and museums. He produced over 3,000 paintings, oils, watercolors, etchings, and lithographs over the course of his career, and was an influential American artist of the early 20th century.
Hassam (pronounced HASS’m,[needs IPA]) was known to all as Childe (pronounced like child), a name taken from an uncle. Hassam was born in the family home on Olney Street on Meeting House Hill in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, on October 17, 1859. His father, Frederick Fitch Hassam (1825–1880), was a moderately successful cutlery businessman with a large collection of art and antiques. He descended from a long line of New Englanders. His mother, Rosa Delia Hawthorne (1832–1880), a native of Maine, shared an ancestor with American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. His father claimed descent from a seventeenth-century English immigrant whose name, Horsham, had been corrupted over time to Hassam. With his dark complexion and heavily lidded eyes, many took Childe Hassam to be of Middle Eastern descent—speculation which he enjoyed stoking. In the mid-1880s, he took to painting an Islamic-appearing crescent moon (which eventually degenerated into only a slash) next to his signature, and he adopted the nickname “Muley” (from the Arabic “Mawla”, Lord or Master), invoking Muley Abul Hassan, a fifteenth-century ruler of Granada whose life was fictionalized in Washington Irving‘s novel Tales of the Alhambra.
Hassam demonstrated an interest in art early. He had his first lessons in drawing and watercolor while attending The Mather School, but his parents took little notice of his nascent talent.
As a child, Hassam excelled at boxing and swimming at Dorchester High School. A disastrous fire in November 1872 wiped out much of Boston’s commercial district, including his father’s business. Hassam left high school after two years (at age 17), and by 1880 his family had moved to nearby Hyde Park. Despite his uncle’s offer to pay for a Harvard education, Hassam preferred to help support his family by working. His father arranged a job in the accounting department of publisher Little, Brown & Company. During that time, Hassam studied the art of wood engraving and found employment with engraver George Johnson. He quickly proved an adept “draughtsman” and produced designs for commercial engravings such as letterheads and newspapers. Beginning to paint artistically, his preferred medium was watercolor, mostly outdoor studies, and around 1879 began creating his earliest oils.
Going full traditional here- an American Impressionist! Hassam’s output was prodigious; this is but a small set of his work- mainly just stuff that caught my eye.