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Childe Hassam on the Rocks

Childe Presents
Historic Portsmouth #349  

Books touting the cultural importance of Celia Thaxter’s summer salon at the Isles of Shoals often point to painter Frederick Childe Hassam as evidence of the important guests who frequented the Appledore Hotel. (Continued below)


Hassam (1859 – 1935) created over 3,000 works and is best known for promoting the school of Impressionism into the American art market. A Boston boy, he became a commercial artist for popular magazines and children’s books. It was Celia Thaxter, 20 years his junior, who convinced him to drop his first name and turn her beautiful island garden into colorful paintings, now highly valued by collectors. Hassam’s impressionistic work (his name is pronounced Child HASSm) was originally mocked by critics as “not art,” but his work was ultimately accepted, and most recently, sought-after in a revival of American impressionism. Hassam’s colorful illustrations appeared in Thaxter’s final book “An Island Garden” and he continued to visit his jolly creative friends at Appledore Island even after Thaxter’s death in 1894. Here he is seen playing dominoes by the rocky island shore with two unidentified young women. In a similar photo he is sitting with friends on the hotel porch working on a jogsaw puzzle. (Photo courtesy of The Portsmouth Athenaeum) 

349_Childe Hassem at the Isles of Shoals




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