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American, 1886-1972

Winter in the Hills (A Vermont Winter), ca. 1910-1920

oil on canvas
signed lower left "A.T. Hibbard"
30 1/4 x 34 1/4 in. (76.8 x 87 cm.), Frame: 35 3/4 x 2 1/4 x 39 1/2 in. (90.8 x 5.7 x 100.3 cm.)

  • Provenance: Private collection, Boston; Estate of the above; [T.G. Buckley Co, Boston]; [Vose Galleries, Boston, February 1925]; Private collection, Boston, acquired directly from the above, January 1926; Private collection, Missouri
  • Notes: Aldro Thompson Hibbard was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1886. His father, a sewing machine salesman, moved the family to the Boston suburb of Roxbury, when Aldro was very young, finally settling in Dorchester in time for him to attend high school. The family would summer on Cape Cod, where Hibbard first displayed his art in a Baptist church. While, as a youngster, his focus was on art, he was also a dedicated baseball player in high school and the sport remained a preoccupation throughout his life.

    Following high school, Hibbard enrolled in classes at the Massachusetts Normal Art School, now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he studied under Joseph Rodefer DeCamp and Ernest Lee Major. Through his dedicated work ethic, he finished the four-year program in three years and moved on to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, studying under American Impressionist painters Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Paige Traveling Scholarship, which would finance two years in Europe. He spent time in England, France, Spain, Morocco and Italy, focusing on each city's outstanding museum collections.

    Highlights of the trip would include experiencing the French Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, and the sharp contrasts of light and shadows in the works and en plein air technique of Joaquín Sorolla. This two-year excursion would be cut in half by the onset of World War I. He had his first experience painting heavy snowfall in the Spanish mountains. Winter scenes would be a subject he would focus on upon his return to New England and for the rest of his career, spending his winters painting in the area of Jamaica, Vermont.

    Hibbard's legacy will forever be linked with his part in founding the Rockport Summer School of Painting in 1920, where he would serve as Director until the 1950s, and bolstering the artist colony in Rockport, Massachusetts. The summer artist-residents would meet in his studio to form the Rockport Art Association, where he was Secretary from 1921 to 1926, and then President until 1943. His students included Emile Gruppe, Paul Strisik, and Marguerite Stuber Pearson.

    The current work is an example of the paintings Hibbard completed during winters around Jamaica, Vermont. Painted with quick broad brushstrokes, the composition creates a multi-sensory experience that captures the tranquility and seclusion of the countryside during winter. The stream rolling across the canvas from the mountains and the chill of the heavy snow are captured through the artist's expert atmospheric technique. He incorporates a myriad of subtle colors such as purple and teal tones in the boulder in the foreground, pink popping out of the bare trees in the midground, and rich blues featured in the background, enriching the starkness of snow.

    Hibbard was consistently represented in annual exhibitions at the National Academy of Design, beginning in 1915, and where he won the Julius Hallgarten Prize in 1922. In 1916, he had his first one-man show at the Boston Art Club. In 1920, he won first prize in the Duxbury Art Associated Annual, and in 1923, he received the Jennie Sesnan Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. He was awarded the Benjamin Altman Prize in the National Academy Annals of 1928 and 1931.

    Although the artist did not identify the location of the work, Hibbard completed many scenes of the West River near Jamaica, Vermont. Based on the topography of the scene the current example likely depicts this area.

    Tags: Rockport / Cape Ann School, listed artist, oil painting, Vermont, New England, snow scene, 20th century, American Impressionist / American Impressionism
  • Condition: Please contact us for a condition report on this lot.

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