Childe Hassam (1859–1935)

Horticulture Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

Oil on canvas, 18 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (47.0 x 66.7 cm). Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.67

While in Paris from 1886 to 1889, Hassam was inspired by the French impressionists, and he began to paint with short, emphatic strokes in bright, light-saturated colors. Back in New York, he became a leading proponent of that movement and was a founder of the group known as the Ten American Painters. Horticulture Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago shows the large, glass-domed edifice as seen from the parklike Wooded Island set in the lagoon at the heart of the fairgrounds. Vigorous brushwork and brilliant color suggest the glare of midday sun and the blur of moving bodies, garments, and faces. Hassam visited Chicago in 1892, but his images of the exposition, which did not open until the following year, were made from architects’ drawings of the projected buildings. As an imagined view of the artificial “White City,” it underscores the fairy-tale-like perfection of the extraordinary event, with its uniformly classical architecture.

Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.