What Is Tonalism? (12 Essential Characteristics)
David Adams Cleveland
Illustrated and discussed in, A History of American Tonalism, p. 113.
Along with James Abbott McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent, Alexander Harrison was one of the highest-esteemed American painters of the late 19th century. Harrison was known as the “Dean of American Painters” in Paris, and served as an inspiration to Marcel Proust for his character Elstir in Remembrance of Things Past—the young author was so moved by Harrison’s atmospheric paintings of Brittany that he adapted his descriptive language to approximate Harrison’s painted reveries, rendered in an expressive-subjective style that projected human feelings onto the landscape, especially through the quality of light as it transforms the sea and sky at dusk. Harrison deployed the skill of his engineering background, the academic finesse of his Beaux Art training, and a deep sensitivity to the spiritual quality of light and atmosphere to create some of the most profound and mesmerizing seascapes in the history of art.
American, 1853-1930, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania