Oil painting -> List of Painters ->Childe Hassam

Childe Hassam

Frederick Childe Hassam


Early Days:

Hassam was born in his family home in a suburb of Boston in 1859. His father Frederick was a cutlery merchant and descended from a long line of New Englanders, while his mother Rosa was a native of Maine. He demonstrated an interest in art early in his life. He had his first lessons in drawing and watercolor while attending the Mather public school, but his parents took little notice of his nascent talent.


In 1882, Hassam became a free-lance illustrator, (known as a “black-and-white man” in the trade), and established his first studio. He specialized in illustrating children’s stories for magazines such as Harper's Weekly, Scribner’s Monthly magazine, and The Century. He continued to develop his technique while attended drawing classes at the Lowell Institute, a division of MIT, and at the Boston Art Club, where he took life painting classes.

By 1882, Hassam was exhibiting publicly and had his first solo exhibition, of watercolors, at the Williams and Everett Gallery in Boston. The following year, his friend Celia Thaxter convinced him to drop his first name and thereafter he was known simply as "Childe Hassam". He also began to add a crescent symbol in front of his signature, whose meaning is not known.

Work done by Frederick Childe Hassam

Having had relatively little formal art training, Hassam was advised by his friend (and fellow Boston Art Club member) Edmund H. Garrett to take a "study trip" with him to Europe during the summer of 1883. Hassam and Garrett traveled throughout Great Britain, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain, studying the old masters together and creating watercolors of the European countryside. He was particularly impressed with the watercolors of J. M. W. Turner. Sixty-seven of the watercolors Hassam did on his trip formed the basis of his second exhibition in 1884. Hassam married Kathleen Doan after his return.