John Twachtman's Connecticut Landscape

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In 1891, the prolific American, impressionist artist John Henry Twachtman finished Connecticut Landscape, a piece composed in oil pastel on brown paper. Keeping with the typical impressionist style, the piece is one that rejects traditional subject matter and shows a landscape rather than a piece that holds more intellectual value like those that came before. The piece also has the iconic unfinished look of impressionist art, with the brown paper showing through the landscape in multiple places. Connecticut Landscape connotes stability with an air of possible incoming instability because of its formal elements including color, line, and texture. Twachtman worked in oil pastels on brown paper, which allowed for him to use a very constricted palate of white, greens, blues, and grays, because in places where there was a lack of color, the brown paper shows through, adding another dimension. Twachtman uses…show more content…
If Twachtman had been working in oil paint, like many of his impressionist contemporaries, Connecticut Landscape would most likely have an incredibly three dimensional look, however, he used oil pastels which has less of a gradient for three dimensionality. Instead of creating a higher relief, like oil paints, when oil pastels are layered, they create a much more matte texture. The less oil pastels layered, the more the color of the material on which the oil pastel is applied shows through. In the center of the painting, Twachtman layers multiple strokes of oil pastels to create a matte look, but uses the oil pastels much more sparingly at the edges. This gives the sense of stability in the center because the texture is consistent throughout. The matte central area further contrasts the sparely colored sky and lower corners, emphasizing their lack of pigment. Because of this lack of pigment, the sky comparatively seems much more unstable than the landscape, and even other parts of the
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