What Is Tonalism? (12 Essential Characteristics)
David Adams Cleveland
Illustrated and discussed, A History of American Tonalism, p. 543.
The lyrically expressive Tonalist painter Chauncey Ryder kept a studio in Paris until 1910, where he fell deeply under the influence of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, painting moody landscapes with a haunting symbolism. When he returned to America, his palette lightened and he adopted a more broadly brushed and gestural facture, a signature style he elaborated on throughout his career. He was drawn to New England landscapes, delving into the lost agricultural world exemplified by toppled stone walls and abandoned roads. Ryder developed a stylized feeling for large landforms and decorative tree lines, and a flair for rhythmic patterns both in his impasto and the compositional structure of his landscapes, often with a pronounced two-dimensional quality—generating a kind of kinetic energy—visual and tactile. Ryder spent most of his time Wilton, New Hampshire, and his distinctive style and penchant for dazzling green tonalities gained him a wide following. He was also a respected watercolorist and etcher.
American, 1868-1949, based in Wilton, New Hampshire