Dwight Blaney 1865-1944

Early Snow, October

  • 22 1/4 x 26 1/4 inches (56.5 x 66.7 cm)
  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed and dated lower left: Dwight Blaney 1914
  • 1914

Why We Love It

Although it sounds oxymoronic, Dwight Blaney perfectly captures the warmth of an early winter day. The quiet palette and soft light counterbalance and ultimately outweigh the chilling effect of the blue streaked snow. This scene was painted on his property in Weston, Massachusetts and exhibited in Boston at the St. Botolph Club.

The Value

It is impossible to acquire a fine American impressionist painting with a respected exhibition record, in its original frame and in unlined, perfect condition for under $50,000, let alone for under $30,000. This is the exception.

Artist Background

1865: Born in Brookline, Massachusetts; Originally trained as an architect, Blaney’s friend John Singer Sargent encouraged him to travel to Europe, where he was influenced by the French Impressionists; 1890-1922: Visited Bermuda frequently; 1906-43: Painted at Fenway Studios in Boston. Summered in Maine on his family’s island, Ironbound. Sargent visited him frequently there, and the two artists painted together. 1944: Died.

Early Snow, October by Dwight Blaney is an elegant depiction of winter in New England. Working within a limited scale of color, Early Snow, October evokes the sensation of warm sun on a winter day. Juxtaposing the frozen landscape with a warm atmosphere lends complexity to an otherwise simple composition. The painting succeeds in capturing the truth of that rare winter day.

Painter, collector, naturalist and lover of old songs, Dwight Blaney was a Renaissance man in the truest sense. Attracted to painting as a young boy, Blaney received his earliest artistic training employed at a tombstone maker’s shop, where he was eventually promoted to chief designer. He went on to work as a draftsman at an architectural firm in Boston for several years before retiring at an early age to paint and collect full-time. Blaney’s need for paid employment ended when he married an heiress, Edith Hill, the daughter of the owner of the Eastern Steamship Company.

Initially, Blaney began to collect antiques as a way to furnish his and Edith’s home. But, as his eye developed, his appreciation of antiques grew – as did his passion for acquisition. Blaney soon developed into one of Boston’s premier collectors. He eventually filled his double house on Beacon Hill in Boston, his farmhouse in Weston, Massachusetts and his Greek-revival home on Ironbound, an island off the coast of Maine with his antique treasures.

Always a gracious and entertaining host, Blaney counted among his many friends many of Boston’s socially and artistically elite, including John Leslie Breck, Childe Hassam, William Paxton and John Singer Sargent. Blaney’s painter friends certainly saw and commented on his paintings, undoubtedly influencing his stylistic development to some degree. Blaney had been recruited to the ranks of the Impressionists early in his career, after having been exposed to the new aesthetic during his earliest European travels in the 1890s. However his close relations with many of America’s most inspired Impressionist artists certainly must have influenced (or at least reinforced) his artistic sensibility.

Blaney’s en plein air landscapes of New England were exhibited during his lifetime in such Boston venues as the Doll and Richards Gallery, the Guild of Boston Artists and the St. Botolph Club.