American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name:         Aldro T. Hibbard
Artist Dates:        
1886 - 1972
Painting Title:      
Wardsboro Brook
Painting Date:       No Date
Oil on Canvas
Signed Lower Left
Private Collection
Size Unframed:    
24 x 32
Size Framed:         32 x 40
Frame Condition:  
Artist Best Price:   $88,875
Offered At:          
Curator's Comments: He was born to be a painter, but he wanted to play ball. And Hibbard received offers from the big leagues. But true to his name, painting won out—and benefited from his talented hand and eye. Hibbard taught summer classes at his studio in Bearskin Neck from 1920 to 1950. Later he set up a studio in East Jamaica, Vermont. From 1915, he was also an instructor in the Art Dept. of Boston Univ. We emphasize his teaching because we believe Hibbard was his own best student. His work grew in expressive power up until his eyes failed around 1950—and most important impressionism became truly his own. His canvas flattened, a cartoon element appeared, and his brushwork changed dramatically to create a unique impressionism with a hard edge.  Hibbard was close with the Rockport painters, a friend of Anthony Thieme, and also of Lester Stevens from the Berkshires. He certainly knew the Grupe’s father and son. But we believe his work is closest to John Fabian Carlson’s, where we see the same kind of pictorial growth. Both men painted winter landscapes, covered bridges and snowy towns in the mountains—with a particular emphasis on the flowing stream within the snowscape. And just as Carlson, nine years Hibbard’s senior , continued to refine his approach, Hibbard was to dramatically shape a post-impression that continues to aptly translate the meaning of the scenes he chose to paint.

Vermont was the locale of many impressionistic winter landscapes for which Hibbard is best known. He was so adept at painting snow scenes, a review in the Boston Globe for the 1918 Guild of Boston Artists exhibition noted: “Hibbard is a realist; you feel the reality of everything he paints, but the sentiment, the poetry is there also. Others paint snow that looks like white paint streaked with blue and yellow. Hibbard paints snow that never looks like anything else but snow...he is...more subtle and more penetrating in his observation of delicate nuances of gray, [and] the phenomenon of light on snow.” Hibbard’s growing sensitivity to light is dominant in Wardsboro Brook, and with it is the power to make the brook speak its sounds and to literally pull the water from beneath the snow cover, to turn white into water--put your ear to the canvas and listen. We are pleased to offer one of Hibbard’s masterpiece later works, which are more about art’s relationship to nature and less about Currier & Ives. Our comparative images say as much as well.

The same motif pre-1920
Hibbard ca. 1930
Masterpiece late work with same motif
Hibbard was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts on August 25, 1886. Son of a Cape Cod sewing machine salesman and a spiritualist mother, Aldroandus Thompson Hibbard was named after a sixteenth-century Bolognese artist and naturalist, Ulysses Aldrovandi. After his graduation from high school, he entered the Massachusetts Normal Art School and studied painting under Joseph DeCamp and Ernest Lee Major. He  continued his studies with Edmund Tarbell, Philip Hale and Frank Benson at the Boston Museum School in 1910, and was awarded the prestigious Paige Traveling Scholarship just a few years later.  In Europe, Hibbard found inspiration in the luminous works of Monet, Sisley and Pissaro. “Monet,” he said, “made sense. I liked his color separation and the effects he got with it, especially in handling light, and I decided that broken color was for me.” His travels were cut short by War Word I, and he returned to America in 1914. After his return, he began to work at the Fenway Studios during the summers, and traveled to Vermont during the winter months, painting the snowy hillsides with thickly applied colors. His works were exhibited regularly at the Boston Art Club, the St. Botolph Club, and in New York at Grand Central Art Galleries.

Hibbard first visited the popular art community of Rockport in 1919, and established the Rockport Summer School of Drawing and Painting, or the Hibbard School, just a year later. By the 1930s, Hibbard was a permanent resident of Rockport, but the winters of Vermont still called to him each year. He taught for nearly 30 years in Rockport, and was a founder of the Rockport Art Association and an active member of North Shore Art Association. His work is included in collections such as the Metropolitan Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and in the Smithsonian. Hibbard was recognized, and won the first Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy of Design, and the Sesnan Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy.
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