Theodore Earl Butler (American, 1861-1936)
Signed "T.E. Butler" l.r.
Oil on canvas, 29 x 19 1/4 in. (73.7 x 48.5 cm), framed.
Condition: Gentle canvas rippling, minor surface grime.
N.B. Of the group of American painters who visited Giverny to work with Monet, Theodore Butler was the one who made the French village his home. Butler sailed for Europe in 1885 with friend and fellow art student Philip Leslie Hale and joined the circle of American expatriate artists studying at the private art studios on Paris's Left Bank. In 1888, Theodore Robinson invited Butler to visit Monet in Giverny, where a group of American painters had flocked. A writer for Art Amateur reported "Quite an American colony has gathered, I am told, at Giverny… A few pictures just received from these young men show that they have all got the blue-green color of Monet's impressionism and 'got it bad'."* Butler was no exception—he quickly adopted Monet's vibrant palette and free brushwork. In 1892, Butler married Monet's stepdaughter, Suzanne Hoschedé, further involving him in the life and work of the Impressionist master. During World War I, Butler decamped to the United States. He returned to Giverny in 1921 and focused his energies on painting landscapes that combined Monet's style of Impressionism with the bold palette and decorative patterning of the Fauves and Post-Impressionists. This stunning example of Butler's late work displays his strong ties to Impressionist color and brushwork—evident in the pastel-hued sky and the loose strokes of the houses along the horizon line—while presenting his interest and familiarity with the Fauves and Post-Impressionism through the strong colors in the lower foreground and the small, almost pointillist brushstrokes of the tree leaves.
* Greta, "Boston Art and Artists," Art Amateur, 17 (October 17, 1887) p. 93; as quoted in H. Barbara Weinberg, "Summers in the Country," Americans in Paris: 1860-1900, Kathleen Adler, Erica E. Hirshler, and H. Barbara Weinberg (London: National Gallery, 2006), p. 142.
This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné compiled by Patrick Bertrand. We would like to thank Mr. Bertrand for his kind assistance with cataloguing the work and for providing an approximate date of 1925.
Framed dimensions: 35 1/2 x 25 3/4 in.
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