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Childe Hassam

The nineteenth-century novelist William Dean Howells identified an abiding concern in American literature for the “more smiling aspects of life.” A similar interest can be found in the Impressionist paintings of American Childe Hassam (1859–1935). A contemporary of Howells, this Massachusetts-born artist recorded a version of modernity that was insistently untroubled. Flooding his depictions of bustling Parisian and New York streets, distant skylines, and flowering gardens with direct sunshine or light resplendently refracted through rain or snow, Hassam imbued the daily life of his times with a pictorial and painterly magic that continues to appeal to the senses. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s retrospective (June 10–September 12), the artist’s first in more than thirty years, features 120 oils, watercolors, and pastels, as well as some twenty-five prints, organized by H. Barbara Weinberg,

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