American Masterpieces from Dryads Green Gallery
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Artist Name: John Henry Twachtman  
Artist Dates:     1853 - 1902   
Painting Title:   
Painting Date:   Undated  
Oil on Wood        
Lower Left            
Private Collection       
Size Unframed:  5 3/4 x 8 3/4
Frame:              New Reproduction
Artist Best Price:$600,000
Our Price:          CALL        
Curator's Comments: We took this tiny jewel of a sketch to be cleaned by our restorer, one of
the most prominent in New York, who remarked to us that it was a good 100 years old, in the old
hard paint and with a signature in the painting. Additionally, it was done on a wooden cigar box cover,
much the same as those Twachtman was known to carry in his pocket to capture scenes he wanted to
paint or etch. As one Twachtman scholar has noted,
"He often worked on cedar cigar-box lids,
which he could carry easily, dashing off a design when something of interest caught his eye.
Moreover, the subject of the sketch fits well with Twachtman's emphasis on mills and boatyards, and
note that scholar Susan Larkin remarks in her study of the Cos Cob Art Colony, that Twachtman in
his masterpiece,
The Old Mill, depicting one of the first tidal-powered grist mills in the country,
"although painting in the age of steam and electricity, continues his emphasis on industrial zones, on
mills, barns, stables and warehouses, which captured not the 19th century, but the 18th century and
its use of water-power, which tied humanity closer to nature."
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Twachtman Cigar Box Sketch Looks Right to Us
Both in his earliest Cincinnati period works and later
in New England Twachtman focused on water mills.
The Artist
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Twachtman first studied at the Ohio
Mechanics Institute, and in 1874, began to paint with Frank
Duveneck, an American artist of the Munich School of direct,
impasto brushwork, often in dark tones. In 1875, Twachtman went
to Europe and studied at the Royal Academy in Munich, and in
1877, went with Duveneck and William Merritt Chase to Venice.
But his style changed from the dark sombre tones of the Munich
School, in 1883, when he went to Paris and studied at the famous
Academie Julian with Jules Lefebvre. From that time on, his style
was characterized by low-key gray and green tones, and smooth
texture. In 1890, Twachtman purchased a seventeen-acre farm in
Connecticut and set up a studio. The farm became an inspiration
for much of his later work, in lighter even more colorful hues,
providing subjects that ranged from a cascading stream to his own
garden, arbor and nearby woods, and even a footbridge he had
constructed himself. In 1897, he became a founding member of The
Ten, a group of artists who were chiefly influenced by French
Impressionism and who broke with the Society of American Artists
and its exhibitions. Twachtman's vibrant colors and his light-
handed brushwork lend spontaneity to the rushing cascades and
calm shores that fill his final works. He died suddenly while
painting in Gloucester in 1902.