Allen Tucker was a plein-air painter with a special sensibility for landscapes. His paintings were described by artist Gifford Beal, his good friend, as “creating a sense of air . . . pieces of nature painted for love of the thing and with a certain controlled passion that finds its way into the paint.” Like his colleague Ernest Lawson, Tucker was one of John Henry Twachtman’s students. Tucker always maintained that it was Twachtman who helped him understand “that there was nothing between me and the wonder of it all but that rectangle of white canvas.” Although many of his early canvases reveal his attraction to intimate, impressionist portrayals of nature, Tucker gradually became interested in a more expressive style of painting. In particular, he admired the work of Vincent van Gogh, becoming the first consciously imitative follower of the Dutch painter in the United States.
The Rise, an undated painting, shows Tucker’s admiration and respect for van Gogh. His color palette of greens, oranges, and blues is cheery and bright, going slightly beyond the naturalist tones of the earth. His brushwork is gestural and expressive and the paint is thick, all typical of van Gogh’s work. Tucker has imbued his sun-drenched canvas with a light-hearted atmosphere, and the quickness of his brushstrokes adds an ease to the painting. Duncan Phillips, who knew Tucker through the Century Club in New York where they were both members, admired Tucker’s work for its bold, rhythmic brushwork and “colors drenched in sunlight.”