The White Vase

(1870-1937)

Size: 32 x 36 inches (81.3 x 91.4 cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Signed lower left: Hugh H. Breckenridge
Why We Love It

While Breckenridge’s treatment of this still life is fairly traditional, the pure color and broken brushwork clearly show the strong influence of Impressionism and even hints of Modernism. In fact, his use of richly patterned drapery in the background, emphasizing surface pattern over illusory space, was a compositional device that he often borrowed from the work of Henri Matisse. Here, it offers Breckenridge the opportunity to explore a gorgeous array of shimmering pinks, purples, yellows and greens, which almost meld into the colorful floral arrangement. 

The Value

Breckenridge’s importance as an artist and as a teacher makes him a key figure in early twentieth-century American art. Yet his work, like that of Arthur Carles, is still undervalued. The White Vase is a fine example of Breckenridge’s mature style before he turned his attention to abstraction. The work’s perfect condition and period frame make it a wonderful addition to a collection of American Impressionism or early Modernism.