Image rights: Courtesy of The Phillips Collection
About John Henry Twachtman
A genius of paint handling, Tonalist landscape artist John Twachtman spent his career experimenting with new and often radical ways of manipulating the surfaces of his canvases to express a subjective reverence for the land and its seasons. Twachtman’s early slashing and tenebrous palette were derived from training in Munich and inspiration from fellow Cincinnati expatriate Frank Duveneck, but would give way to a more nuanced, feathery brushwork by the mid 1880s, when he painted some of his early masterworks influenced by James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s ethereal aesthetics. These French and Dutch landscapes were unparalleled in American art for their refinement and elegance of design, no less their rarefied handling of tone and hypnotic intensity. Twachtman’s elegiac winter landscapes in particular spoke to the mystical, transcendentalist spirituality of nature. He died young and was greatly mourned by the professional art world.
American, 1853-1902, Cincinnati, Ohio