Arthur Josiah Hammond (1875-1947), American
Gloucester Harbor, undated, probably 1920's
oil on board, 9 in. x 12 in.
(framed dimensions: 13 ¾ in. x 16 ¾ in.)
signed lower left: “A.J. Hammond”
A nicely executed example of American Impressionist painting – very likely done on-the-spot in the open air. The view is of a grouping of sloops and dories moored adjacent to an elevated pier, the masts and sky reflected in the water below. The artist utilizes a tilted down, cropped composition and an interesting arrangement of geometric and negative shapes. He also demonstrates the brushwork of an experienced and talented plein air painter with fluid, expressive brush strokes, and imparts a dimensional quality with areas of impasto – as seen in the masts, furled sails and the foreground dory. The painting’s color palette is predominantly in shades of blue and green: turquoise, emeralds and cerulean, interspersed with notes of white, yellow, orange, cream, gray and brown. The elevated pier behind the boats appears very like one in Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts, at the modern-day location of the Gloucester House Restaurant (see photo circa 1920 attached).
Born in Vernon, Connecticut, Arthur Hammond studied painting under the well-known American artists Eric Pape, Charles Woodbury and George Loftus Noyes. In 1904, he was awarded a scholarship at the Pape School for portraiture. About 1907, Hammond traveled to England and France where he continued his training at the Academie Julian. In 1911, when the artist graduated from the Eric Pape school, he won a silver medal “for oil sketches made on a trip through England, France, Holland and Italy” (Boston Globe, June 12, 1911). From 1911 to 1923, Hammond kept a studio-residence in Swampscott, Massachusetts and summered in Deerfield, New Hampshire and classified himself as a “landscape painter” (1910 U.S. Census). In 1915, he exhibited a painting titled “The Old Artist” at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
In the early 1920s, Hammond traveled along the California coast, and by 1924 was in Carmel where he occupied the Schroff studio. In March, 1924, he sketched in the desert near Palm Springs and that same spring twenty-one of his oils were exhibited at the Stanford University Art Gallery – including “The Old Artist”, scenes from Gloucester, Massachusetts and several Carmel landscapes (Hammond would also show “The Old Artist” at the Boston Art Club in October 1928). The Gallery’s director, Pedro Lemos, noted that Hammond’s “exhibition shows the versatility and ability of the artist to render varying subjects”. Soon after, Hammond exhibited a number of works at the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club and that summer he visited the Laguna Beach art colony and exhibited at its local art association. In October 1924 he exhibited 12 paintings at the Gump Gallery in San Francisco and in November 1924 contributed to the Annual at the Oakland Art Gallery. Hammond and his wife, Ruth, were very active in the Carmel social scene and they hosted the Laguna Beach artist Anna Hills as a house guest.
Hammond also painted on trips to New Mexico and Arizona. It appears that in 1925, he organized a painting class of 24 members in Roswell, New Mexico, with students ranging in age from 16 to 60, and of varying degrees of talent.
In April 1925, Hammond returned permanently to New England. In 1927 he exhibited at the Rockport Art Association where his painting “The Northeaster” was described by the Boston Globe as “a powerful shore picture”. In 1929 he exhibited at the Gloucester Society of Artists and at the Art Association of Newport. By 1930, he and his family were living in Rockport, Massachusetts. Hammond continued to paint and exhibited at the North Shore Art Association in Gloucester, Massachusetts as late as summer of 1944. Hammond passed away in Rockport in 1947.
Arthur Hammond exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco (1915), the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the St. Ives Club (Great Britain), the Stanford University Art Gallery, the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club, the Laguna Beach Art Association, the Gloucester Society of Artists, the Art Association of Newport, the Jordan Marsh Company, Boston, the North Shore Art Association, the Boston Art Club, the Lynn Art Club and the Rockport Art Association.
The painting is in excellent condition. The paint surface is dry and appears unvarnished. The painting is clean, the colors appear fresh and there is no evidence of any craquelure or paint loss or inpainting (*Edit: to the naked eye craquelure is not visible. In super close up photos there is some fine but quite stable craquelure in the reflection of the white dory at center and in the prow of the dory at right). The small brown spot near bow of the large vessel at center is not an area of paint loss; it is a stroke of brown paint placed on the still-wet greenish blue paint.The signature appears to possibly be done in ink over the dry paint surface. Some of this has been lost over the high ridges left by his bristle brush in the paint strokes. The signature is, however, legible and in the artist’s own hand. The painting is housed in a quality modern, molded, dark brown and gold metal leaf frame.
Arthur Josiah Hammond, Gloucester Harbor, oil on board