Artwork Detail

Diamond Cove, Isles of Shoals
American, 1859–1935
Oil on board
25 1/4 x 30 3/8 "
University purchase, Bixby Fund, 1914
WU 2186
A leading figure of the American Impressionist movement, Childe Hassam developed a distinctive painting style characterized by quick brushwork, solid volumes, and close attention to the changing effects of atmosphere and light. "Diamond Cove, Isles of Shoals" depicts a granite outcropping on the southwest side of an island known as Appledore, part of the Isles of Shoals off the Atlantic coast near the border of Maine and New Hampshire. Hassam aimed to transform the vision of the natural world into paint through the lens of individual perception. A range of translucent brown and blue tones suggests the complex visual interplay between the transparent water and jagged rocks, with short, thick marks evoking the rippling motion of the water. In the upper left, a rocky formation juts out above the water, while submerged rocks visible in the shallow, clear water of low tide create an effect of visual unity across the picture plane. Hassam’s tight focus on a selected element from nature illustrates his interest in using a modern style of painting to capture the sensations of a specific moment and place. [Exhibition label, 2013]