(american 1859-1935)
Signed and dated 'Childe Hassam/1900' bottom right; also inscribed with title on upper stretcher verso, oil on canvas
20 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. (51.4 x 36.2cm)
The Milch Galleries, New York, New York.
Hersey Eggington, New York.
Russell Brown, New York.
Parke-Bernet, New York, sale of January 6, 1954, lot 41.
The Milch Galleries, New York, New York.
Graham Galleries, New York, New York.
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.
Christie's, New York, sale of March 15, 1985, lot 212.
Acquired directly from the above sale.
Collection of Dorrance H. Hamilton.
(Possibly) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1908, no. 379 (exhibited as "The Church at Provincetown").
(Possibly) "Exhibition of Paintings by Childe Hassam," Saint Botolph Club, Boston, Massachusetts, October 29-November 17, 1900 (exhibited as "The White Church," no. 38 in the exhibition catalogue).
Frederick Childe Hassam was born in Boston in 1859. As a child, he attended the oldest public elementary school in the country, where his inherent artistic talent first appeared. He worked as an engraver and as a draftsman during the late 1870s after leaving high school. In the early 1880s, Hassam worked as a freelance illustrator, and his work appeared in multiple publications, including Harper's Weekly. He took drawing and painting classes, though by then his preference for watercolor had overtaken other media. It was through his studies at the Boston Art Club that Hassam went to Europe; first for two months in the summer of 1883, to travel the continent, study, and produce art. The artist returned again just three years later, settling in Paris in an apartment in the ninth arrondissement; he would eventually occupy the former studio of Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), though the two never met. Hassam enrolled in formal drawing classes at the Académie Julian, studying briefly under Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911) and Gustave Boulanger (1824-1888), before withdrawing from the school to pursue his own path of self-guided study.
In 1900, after traveling to Italy, Hassam visited Provincetown for the first time. At that time, Provincetown had become something of an artistic enclave in its own right, with artists and writers flocking to the seaside town at the tip of Cape Cod, which had once been rooted in fishing and maritime industries. Executed in the same year as his first trip, "White Church, Provincetown" depicts a narrow strip of dappled water along a small patch of sand, with a screen of houses standing at the end of the beach. Like the following lot, "The Walk Around the Island," the present piece is a reverse seascape, planting the viewer unmoored at sea, the perspective flipped towards land. The white spire of the Universalist Meeting House rises into the pale summer sky. Now the First Universalist Church of Provincetown, the building was erected in 1847, close to the Town Hall. In the 1850s, the elegant Christopher Wren steeple was added and provided a visual landmark. Hassam produced about a dozen canvases during his 1900 trip to Provincetown, nearly half of which feature some view or glimpse of this classic New England architecture.
The painting will be included in Stuart P. Feld's and Kathleen Burnside's forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of the artist's work. We wish to thank Ms. Kathleen Burnside for her kind assistance in cataloguing this lot.

Estimate $250,000-400,000

Sold for $370,000 (buyer's premium included)