Thinking About Spring and Willard Metcalf’s New England Afternoon
Post by: Jennifer Chapman Smith
Collections and Exhibitions Manager
With the weather forecast calling for snow, we thought it might be nice to share a beautiful summery painting with you to get you through the cold days ahead.
Willard Metcalf’s New England Afternoon, ca.1909, was given to the WCMFA in 1931 by museum founders, William and Anna Singer, and has been a favorite of visitors since that time. William Singer, who was a painter himself, occasionally joined Metcalf on painting excursions in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Metcalf even visited the Singers when they lived in Norway and gifted them several paintings, this one among them.
Dr. Elizabeth Johns writes in One Hundred Stories: Highlights from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts of the painting:
“New England Afternoon radiated the bright yellows and greens of summer. A dark, sinuous creak leads the viewer’s eye into the landscape through a foreground dotted with livestock. Blue-tinged mountains in the far distance, a church steeple in the background, and a sky filled with scudding clouds = typical characteristics of New England – give the scene its sweeping scale. Metcalf’s high point of view and nearly square canvas (popular at the time) create a deep space, which the delicate, short, brushstrokes fill with a pleasant softness”
This painting is not currently on view but is scheduled to be included in the re-installation of the Singer Memorial Gallery, happening later this year.
We hope this painting from the WCMFA collection will fill you with the warmth of summer and you can remember the lovely greens and yellows as you shovel snow.