What Is Tonalism? (12 Essential Characteristics)
David Adams Cleveland
Illustrated and described in, A History of American Tonalism, p. 291.
Among the American Tonalists, Leonard Ochtman’s 15 major awards between 1900 and 1910 made him one of the most famous painters in his day. Before the turn of the century, Ochtman painted delicate landscapes, drawing on subtle patterns made up of deftly arranged tree and plant forms. Like many of those working in the Tonalist tradition, Ochtman moved from these spiritualizing landscapes to larger more vigorous works after 1900, canvases pulsing with rough and expressive paint marks that channeled the artist’s subjective response to the natural world. This more painterly approach allowed Ochtman to create an array of surface textures, vibrant tonalities, and soft-edged forms that raise his subjects to a sublime evocation of time and place. Ochtman was a master of subtle tone, which he deployed in celebration of the Connecticut hills and valleys near his Greenwich home.
American, 1854-1934, Netherlands, based in Albany, New York