Summer: Giverny

Theodore Robinson, Giverny, ca. 1889, Oil on canvas 16 x 22 in.; 40.64 x 55.88 cm.. Acquired 1920.

Painted during his third summer in the village, Giverny (ca. 1889) is a prototypical example of the technique that earned Theodore Robinson his reputation in America. Using a vantage from a hillside overlooking the Seine valley, he adjusted his easel to paint several views of the rural landscape. The strong composition and strict delineation of architectural elements in Giverny hark back to Robinson’s academic training, while the bright violet-and-green palette and deft, summary treatment of the light-dappled foliage betray his exposure to impressionism. In Giverny, Robinson emphasized parallel diagonal lines that radiate to the left of the picture plane and terminate at the horizon line near the top of the canvas. Robinson executed this painting en plein-air—out of doors—capturing the immediate brilliance of the sunlight and warm colors of the country, a technique he no doubt learned from Monet.

Summer: Farm at Bear Mountain

David Burkiuk, Farm at Bear Mountain, 1925, Oil on burlap canvas 18 1/8 x 12 7/8 in.; 46.0375 x 32.7025 cm.. Acquired 1929.

David Burliuk’s Farm at Bear Mountain (1925) is vigorously expressionistic, using color to convey Burliuk’s intense personal feelings about the landscape. Painted with rhythmic strokes, wiry lines, and strong colors, it is an ode to nature in late summer. Its predominantly saturated verdant palette is evocative of a lush summer with plenty of sun and rain. While warm highlights on the foliage and rooftops of farm buildings capture the effects of the sun, deeper greens and blues, found in the denser areas of trees, suggest the fresh, cool air of the shade. Burliuk further increases the dynamism of the painting by using a vertical format, thus denying the viewer a panoramic vista, creating a tension with the inherit nature of landscape painting.

Summer: Black River Valley

John Marin, Black River Valley, 1913, Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper 15 1/2 x 18 3/4 in.; 39.37 x 47.625 cm.. Acquired 1926.

During summer 1913, John Marin spent the summer along the Black River in Castorland, New York, near the Adirondacks, painting the local landscape of the river valley and surrounding mountains including Black River Valley. His paintings during that summer were full of bright, luminous color, which Marin exaggerated with watercolor paint. Marin typically dated his paintings only by year, not by month or season, but his Castorland paintings are recognizable by a blue, green, and pale yellow summery palette. He used his penchant for transparent color, loose and fluid technique, admiration for cubism, and mastery of watercolor paint to create a beautifully abstracted image of the rolling hills and deep river valley, conveying the warmth of a summer day.

This work is currently on view in Made in the U.S.A.