Monday, November 8, 2021

Robert Vonnoh, American Impressionist of Sorts

Robert William Vonnoh (1858-1933) is classified as an American Impressionist in his Wikipedia entry, and I used that in the title of this post.  As best I can tell from what I've read (not being any kind of authority regard Impressionism), American Impressionist art is more structured, less wispy, than high French Impressionism (think Claude Monet).  And so it was with Vonnoh, some of whose works seem hardly Impressionist at all.

Until recently, I had never heard of him.  Which is sad, because he was very competent.  On the other hand, I don't think of his work as being outstanding: no painting stands out, his style was not distinctive.

Below are examples of his work.


Margaret French - 1913
I came across Vonnoh while visiting Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in June.  Chesterwood was where sculptor Daniel Chester French lived and worked.  Above is my iPhone photo of a display case.  The painting of the woman in red is by French, the subject being his daughter Margaret.  The painting to its left is by Vonnoh, also of Margaret French.

Daniel Chester French - c.1913
Here is Vonnoh's portrait of French, who his best known for his seated Abraham Lincoln sculpture in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Bessie Potter Vonnoh - 1907
Portrait of Vonnoh's wife, herself a sculptor of small works.

Bessie Potter Vonnoh at Her Dressing Table - 1912
A later portrayal of Bessie.

In Flanders Field (Coquelicots) - 1890
According to Wikipedia, this is Vonnoh's best known painting.

Beside the River (Grez) - 1890
I like this one better due to its composition and colors.

Grez scene
Painted on a somber day, it seems.

The Ring - 1892
In the American Impressionist style.

Ellen Axson Wilson and Her Daughters - 1913
This later interior scene lacks broken colors aside, perhaps, from the vegetation.

At the Helm (Edward Dale Toland) - c.1926
A late work.  Only the background hints of Impressionism.

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