Landscape Paintings of Thomas Anshutz

18 Jan

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, Landscape With Grey Sky (date unknown)

Note: click on any image to enlarge

Thomas Pollock Anshutz (1851 – 1912) was a student of realist painter Thomas Eakins and succeeded Eakins as leader of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  Anshutz’s list of students reads like a “Who’s Who” of 20th Century American oil painting, including such notables as George Luks, Charles Demuth, John French Sloan, Charles Sheeler, Everett Shinn, John Marin, William Glackens and Robert Henri.

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, (c. 1900)

Anshutz is best known for his portrait work, but he was an excellent landscape artist, frequently using photographs of nature, at Holly Beach, New Jersey and on trips on the Delaware and Maurice Rivers, as studies for landscape paintings.  In 1898 he co-founded the Darby School, a summer painting school outside Philadelphia which focused on plein air techniques — painting quickly in the open air, directly from nature, in the tradition of the French Impressionists and the Barbizon School, such as Corot.  The Darby School was thus similar to William Merritt Chase’s school at Shinnecock, Long Island.  At Darby Anshutz created a series of bright, abstract landscape paintings that were never exhibited in his lifetime.

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, Garden (date unknown)

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, Untitled Landscape (date unknown)

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, St. Cloud Near Paris (c. 1893)

I’m focusing here on Anshutz’s landscape paintings because I just love his style and want to emulate his technique in my own painting.  I marvel at Anshutz’s loose brush work — in which respect he is similar to the French and American Impressionists — in combination with a “Barbizon” color palette.  In fact Anshutz’s compositions occasionally border on abstraction in the manner of another of my favorite landscape painters, the great Canadian Tom Thomson.

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, New Jersey Shore (date unknown)

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, Old House, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania (date unknown)

Thomas Pollock Anshutz, The Summer House (c. 1900)

Anshutz’s landscapes range from moody (e.g. Landscape With Grey Sky; Garden; New Jersey Shore; and Old House, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania) to distinctly cheerful (e.g. Untitled Landscape; St. Cloud Near Paris; and The Summer House) but are always contemplative.   That same quality is found in the landscapes of one-time Anshutz student Robert Henri.  It was Henri who said “there is no art without contemplation.”  Very true.

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