Winter with John Henry Twachtman

John Henry Twachtman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, August 4, 1853. He is known for his impressionist paintings which embraced an experiential, even personal element. Known to be outgoing, he also had moments of deep contemplation. His moods between restlessness and serenity allowed his creative energy to explore painting, etchings and drawings in pastel.

Greenwich Hills in Winter’ John Henry Twachtman late 1800s Denver Art Museum

“Winter… that feeling of quiet and all nature is hushed to silence.”

John Henry Twachtman

Europe beckoned a young John Henry. First stop, Munich, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1875 – 1877. Venice came next, when he met up with his friends and fellow painters, William Merritt Chase and Frank Deveneck. I can only imagine these three artists getting lost in the streets of Venice.

John Henry Twachtman – Winter – Google Art Project

After a short visit home, John Henry traveled to Paris where he studied at the Academie Julian from 1883 – 1885. Several years later in 1893, he would exhibit his work with Claude Monet at the New York Gallery.

John Henry had many friends. He belonged to a group of American painters known as “The Ten” who exhibited their work as a unified group. Formed in 1898, Childe Hassam, J Alden Weir and John Henry Twachtman were the driving force behind this creative alliance that was to remain vital for the next twenty years.

John Henry Twachtman photograph by Gertrude Kasibeer

At the age of 49, on August 8, 1902, John Henry died of a brain aneurysm. His work lives on in museum collections – National Gallery of Art, Washington, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He influenced artists that came after him: Katherine Langhorne Adams, Annie E.A. Walker, Louise Zaring and Ernest Lawson.

John Henry Twachtman – Cincinnati

“In my mind I have finer pictures than ever before. Ten thousand pictures come and go every day and those are the only complete pictures painted, pictures that shall never be polluted by paint and canvas.”

John Henry Twachtman

8 Replies to “Winter with John Henry Twachtman”

  1. This is a beautiful article, I love it. There is something unusual about paintings done in pastels. This brings back memories for me. When Sunbeam and I were around 10 to 12, I believe, we had some lessons done in pastels with Ruth Swanson and her son, Don. She liked to do paintings using pastels. I remember the painting that we did, all three of us, some more successful than others. This is such a happy memory, I ;had not thought of it is years. I do not know where that painting went—

    1. We must look for that painting. You and Sunbeam continue to inspire me . How time moves on with speed and tenacity. Those were wonderful memories and I am delighted that you shared them with me.

    1. I do too, Julie! What I appreciate most about my mini-research projects into artists that I have never heard of before, is discovery how they transitioned through life, always learning, always questioning, always dealing with ambiguity. This a John Henry quote that resonated with me during this time of solitude: “To be isolated is a fine thing and we are then nearer to nature.”

  2. Artists seemed to have been able to travel so easily from America to Europe – and other countries, of course – back then, even when travel was way more time consuming and probably a lot more expensive.

    For a unique experience in time travel, the movie “Midnight in Paris” is a delightful bit of very enjoyable fluff by Woody Allen. Don’t miss it if you see it anywhere. It is a joy!

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    1. I loved “Midnight in Paris” and have watched it several times. This led me to Gertrude Stein’s book: “The Autobiography of Alice Toklas.” Isn’t it interesting that a movie can lead to more exploration. And yes, there seems to be a great deal of travel undertaken by artists, especially to Paris. Virtual hugs coming back with all speed and enthusiasm.

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