Childe Hassam was one of the foremost painters to interpret contemporary American settings through the lens of French Impressionism. Concurring with the academic master Jean-Léon Gérôme that “the Brooklyn Bridge is worth the Colosseum of Rome and that modern America is as fine as the bric-a-brac of antiquity,” he studied in Europe, but painted extensively in the Northeastern United States.
Based in New York after 1889, he spent his summers on excursions to the picturesque environs of New England, including Gloucester, the Isles of Shoals, and Cos Cob, Connecticut, where an artist colony was forming around his Impressionist colleague John Henry Twachtman. Hassam nicknamed it “the Cos Cob Clapboard School of Art” in reference to the bevel siding that adorned the small harborside community. Here, among New England’s white-frame churches, historic homes and maritime traditions, he sought that which was timeless of the American character.