Hugh Henry Breckenridge 1870-1937

Landscape Sketch

  • 8 x 5 3/16 inches (20.3 x 13.2 cm)
  • Oil on board

Why We Love It

This bright little landscape study is a wonderful example of Breckenridge’s loose impressionist style. The subject is almost abstracted as the picture is made up of a swirling mass of juicy brushstrokes, laid down directly on the board without any blending or fussing around. Most likely executed in a single sitting, this piece provides a fascinating glimpse into this artist’s unique way of seeing.

The Value

Hugh Henry Breckenridge was not only an important and influential painter. Along with Arthur Carles and Henry McCarter, he developed the modernist curriculum at PAFA and was a beloved and respected teacher at that institution for many years. This small study is in beautiful condition and is in an elegant period frame.

Artist Background

1870: Born in Leesburg, Virginia; 1887-92: Attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, where he was deeply affected by the legacy of Thomas Eakins; 1889: Awarded first Toppan Prize from PAFA; 1892: Awarded PAFA’s Cresson Traveling Scholarship, which enabled him to travel through Europe and study at the Academie Julian with William Bouguereau; 1894-1937: Began teaching at PAFA, where he was a principle instructor. He was also responsible for developing the modernist curriculum at PAFA along with Arthur Carles and Henry McCarter; 1900: Opened the Darby Summer School of Painting with Thomas Anshutz; 1904: First solo exhibition at PAFA: 1909: Traveled to Europe with Walter Schofield and was deeply affected by the modernist painting he saw; 1910s: Worked alternately in a neoimpressionist technique, which he called “tapestry painting,” and a more academic style enriched by an expressionist palette; 1920-37: Established and taught at the Breckenridge School of Art, East Gloucester, Massachusetts; 1922: Began exhibiting abstract paintings, which demonstrated a deep fascination with color theory; 1937: Died.