What Is Tonalism? (12 Essential Characteristics)
David Adams Cleveland
Image rights: Bank of America Collection
Bank of America Collection
Perhaps no Tonalist artist of his generation so utterly immersed himself physically and emotionally in his chosen landscape, the sea and shore of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, as did Dwight Tryon. Although his hardscrabble landscapes of the 1880s evoke the overgrown pastures and granite outcroppings of his favored painting ground, it was his decorative landscapes (reminiscent of James Abbott McNeill Whistler) from the 1890s on that brought Tryon fame. Deeply indebted to the writings of Henry David Thoreau, the artist’s aesthetic arrangements of spring tree lines at dusk became the expressive means to his spiritual ends. The dematerialized forms of his stark landscapes were designed to evoke a feeling of wonder and quiet contemplation; his high horizon and measured geometries allowed him to display his bold brushwork and vibrating tonalities in a shimmering, almost hypnotic, scrim of light and muted color.
American, 1849-1925, Hartford, Connecticut, based in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts