TWACHTMAN, John Henry
(b. 1853, Cincinnati, d. 1902, Gloucester)
American painter and printmaker. He began as a painter of window-shades but developed one of the most personal and poetic visions in American landscape painting, portraying nature on canvases. His first artistic training was under Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), with whom he studied first in Cincinnati. Most leading American artists of the late nineteenth century journeyed to Europe to study, usually to France. Twachtman went first to Germany where he worked at the Munich Royal Academy and adopted the forceful brushstrokes, heavy application of paint, and limited, low-key palette that were associated with the circle of Wilhelm Leibl. His absorption of the Munich style, characterized by bravura brushwork and dexterous manipulation of pigment, with the lights painted as directly as possible into warm, dark grounds derived from Frans Hals and Courbet, is reflected in such paintings as Venice Landscape (1878; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) and Landscape (c. 1882; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica).
Later, however, after spending a few years back in America, he went to Paris, where he studied from 1883 to 1885 at the Académie Julian in Paris, and his paintings dramatically shifted towards a soft, gray and green tonalist style.
In 1886 he returned to America and settled in Connecticut. Many of his exquisite and atmospheric landscapes in oil and pastel were inspired by the countryside near his home in Greenwich, Conn. He also painted a series of landscapes at Yellowstone Park and at Niagara Falls.
He did not live to enjoy the high reputation his work now holds. Twachtman is represented in many American galleries. Characteristic works are Waterfall (Metropolitan Museum, New York), The Hemlock Pool (Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Mass.), and Summer (Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington).