John Henry Twachtman
As one of the leading Impressionist painters of the late 19th century, John Henry Twachtman was at the forefront of a rising generation of American artists who sought to find innovative modes of capturing the modern American scene. The grandiose landscapes of the Hudson River School had become outdated, and contemporary American artists such as Twachtman once again found themselves turning to Europe in search of new forms of expression.
John Henry Twachtman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853. After studying briefly at the Ohio Mechanics Institute and the McMicken School of Design, Twachtman fell under the influence of Frank Duveneck, an artist of the Munich school. In 1875 he travelled to Europe and studied at the Royal Academy in Munich, where he adopted the dark painterly realism typical of that institution. During the next few years, Twachtman travelled throughout Europe in the company of artists such as William Merritt Chase and J. Alden Weir. By 1883, Twachtman found himself in Paris, where his style underwent a profound change as he began to be influenced by the Tonalism of Whistler and the French Impressionists. In 1889, Twachtman bought a home and property in Greenwich, Connecticut, and this area became his principal subject throughout the 1890s. During this period, his paintings began to lighten, and they continued to become brighter and more impressionistic as his style matured.
Twachtman actively participated in the New York art world. He exhibited regularly with the Society of Painters in Pastel, the American Water Color Society, and the Society of American Artists. In 1897, frustrated by the conservative attitude of the Society of American Artists, Twachtman and nine friends formed an exhibiting society called the Ten American Painters or "The Ten." While summering in Gloucester, Twachtman died suddenly of a brain aneurysm on August 8, 1902, only four years after the founding of The Ten.
John Twachtman's works are in numerous important private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; the Cleveland Museum, Ohio; the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri; the St. Louis Museum of Art, Missouri; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; and many others.