John Henry

United States • 1853−1902

Biography and information

John Henry Twachtman (also - Tuoktmen; English. John henry twachtman, August 4, 1853, Cincinnati, Ohio - August 8, 1902, Gloucester, Massachusetts) was an American painter, belonged to the group of leading American impressionists of his time and even was one of the founders of the Ten ) - association of impressionists who disagree with his conformist policies.

Features of the artist John Henry Twachtman: This is an exceptional example of an impressionist who devoted himself primarily to writing landscapes. In the pictures of Twachtman almost never seen people, and the buildings in his life he wrote very little. His views of Connecticut are full of the finest delicacy and grace; these are poetic pastorals in a soft, as if faded gray-green gamut. Best of all, the artist Twaktman managed winter landscapes. Its ornate, strangely chained in the ice streams and lonely, isolated from the outside world waterfalls in no way betray the presence of man.

Famous paintings by John Henry Twachtman: Mills in Dordrecht, "Arc-la-Bataille", "Wild Cherry", "Branchville", "Winter Harmony", "White Bridge".

Born future artist in the family of German immigrants Frederick Christian and Sophia Drege Twachtmanov. Among the many works that his father undertook to feed his family (a policeman, a carpenter, a storekeeper and a joiner), there was one relatively creative - a window curtain decorator.

At the age of 14, young Johnny joined this profession, managing to attend classes at the Institute of Mechanics in parallel. In 1871 he continued his studies at the McMicken School of Design (now it is called the Cincinnati Academy of the Arts). Here fate brought Twachtman to his future mentor. Frank DuveneckAlthough he was only 5 years older, he already had some fame in the artistic circles of the United States.

Munich period

Duveneck had previously studied in Munich and persuaded his younger comrade to return to Europe together with him and continue his studies there. For two years (from 1875 to 1877) Twachtman is listed as a student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he picks up techniques typical of the Munich school of the time: broad paint energetic strokes predominantly gloomy colors. But he did not stay longer in Munich, and together with Duvenec and another American, By William Merritt Chase, went for a new experience in Venice.

But this journey not much brightened palette Twachtman. His works Venetian period, written in the open air, demonstrate a clearly organized manner of writing, more characteristic of Munich realism. Upon returning to the States in 1878, John Henry is involved in the progressive art community and takes part in the first exhibition of the Society of American Artists in New York.

"French Spring"

Two years later, Twachtman marries his colleague and countrywoman from Cincinnati, the artist Martha Scudder. She is sacrificing her career for the sake of the family, and the couple have children while living in Europe. Margerie's daughter is born in Paris. And the son of Jay Alden, named after the father’s ally Julian Alden Weir, follows in the footsteps of parents and becomes an illustrator, artist and architect.

From 1883 to 1885, Twachtman studies at the prestigious Julian Academy in Paris. In the summer he writes a lot in Normandy, the municipality of Arc-la-Bataille. During this period, his style undergoes significant metamorphosis: color range brightens, the brush job becomes more delicate. Perhaps he succumbed to the influence of the French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage, while very popular with the American impressionists.

Twachtman pays all attention to the landscape, and his French period is almost the exact opposite of the Munich. He takes a closer look at the composition, less keen on strong contrasts, capturing softly lit scenes in which light green and silver-gray shades prevail. Also john henry starts intensely use pastel.

Studios in Greenwich

In 1886, the Twachtman family returned to the States, and this time forever. Since that time, his relationship with the artist Weir go into a close friendship. John Henry leases land in Branchville, next to him, and later acquires a farm of about 7 hectares not far from Greenwich, where they now often work together.

There, in the early 1890s, comrades organize an artistic colony Kos Kob (by the name of the town where Tvakhtman settled). The area, which attracts artists with picturesque pastoral landscapes, is located very close to New York. Therefore, fellow Impressionists had the opportunity to easily combine plein air in Kos Kobe with teaching in the student League of Artists in New York.

Back to black

The fourth period in the artist's career Twachtman came in the last years of his life, which he spends in Gloucester, Massachusetts. There he reunites with his long-time mentor Duveneck and another of his followers from Cincinnati, By joseph decamp. Perhaps partly under their influence in the manner of Twachtman returns gain tonal contrast, geometrically more accurate composition and work with black color.

A ruptured brain aneurysm interrupts the biography and artistic search of the American impressionist at 49 years of age. And although during his lifetime his work was not particularly valued in monetary terms (although he was often exhibited in prestigious galleries in New York), currently Twachman's paintings are included in the largest collections of the United States. Such as the New York Metropolitan, National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The author: Natalia Azarenko