Hassam spent many summers on Appledore Island off the coast of Maine. Every year, he and a circle of musicians, writers and other artists made an informal colony based at the home of his friend, the poet Celia Thaxter. In Thaxter’s gardens and on the rocky beaches, Hassam used the flickering brushwork and brilliant colors he had adopted in France to capture the spangled light of Appledore’s brief summer. This painting evokes the leisurely, seasonal rhythms of America’s priveleged families in the last years before the Great War. A beautifully dressed woman shields her face from the sun; she looks down and away, as if absorbed in the song of a sandpiper, the island bird that inspired Celia Thaxter’s most famous children’s poem.
(Text courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum).