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Ernest Lawson ( ca. 1913 )

Collection item 1189
  • Period Twentieth-Century
  • Materials Oil on canvas mounted on panel
  • Object Number 1189
  • Dimensions 16 1/8 x 20 1/8 in.; 40.9575 x 51.1175 cm.
  • Credit Line Acquired 1915

One of his earliest paintings, Ernest Lawson painted Spring in right around the turn of the 20th century. His work during this time reflected the paintings of his teachers, Julian Alden Weir and John Henry Twachtman, both of whom were ardent champions of American impressionism. Lawson has managed to imbue his painting with light and charm, achieved by his color palette and delicate brushwork, which seems to dance around the canvas, never quite standing still, as if capturing a spring breeze. Lawson’s palette is bright and playful, contrasting warm yellows against the cool green of the grassy knoll in the foreground. He skillfully adds dabs of blues and reds to the shadows, enhancing the boldness of the overall painting.

Duncan Phillips was an early admirer of Lawson’s work, praising his ability to combine the mastery of such artists as Monet, Twachtman and Weir. Phillips luxuriated in the “almost candied succulence to [Lawson’s] glazed surfaces,” and calling him a “casual and careless Bohemian,” nevertheless placed him in the context of the American tradition.