Windy Day, Branchville, Connecticut. 1888-89. Etching. 3 15/16 x 4 7/8 (sheet 6 13/16 x 9 1/2). Ryerson 1, Baskett 21. One of only 35 known impressions from the small Keppel edition of 1921. An atmospheric impression with plate tone printed on fine cream laid paper. Unsigned. $2,000.
When Twachtman acquired a new printing press in 1888, he and his friend Julian Alden Weir combed the Connecticut countryside in search of scenes to transform into prints. The etching was used to illustrate a painting of the same name (whereabouts unknown) for the February 1889 Fifth Avenue Art Galleries catalogue. Basket writes, p. 102, "Thus the etched version provides an important record of Twachtman's work in another medium. The subject matter in this print -- road, trees, farmhouse, fence, and grasses -- is lightly and rapidly indicated, and quickLy sketched diagonals in the sky suggest the rapid movement of clouds. Twachtman conveys the impression of a windy day. It is possible that J. Alden Weir's property in Branchville, Connecticut, or the surrounding area, was the location of this scene, which has the appearance of being drawn from nature on the copperplate, even though it was based on a painting."p
John Henry Twachtman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and received his first art training there under Frank Duveneck. Like most artists of the era, Twachtman then proceeded to Europe to further his education. He enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 1875 and visited Venice with Duveneck and William Merritt Chase. His landscapes from this time exhibit the loosely-brushed, shadowy technique taught at Munich. Twachtman also learned etching, and sometimes carried etching plates with him that he could use to spontaneously record a scene.
Close friends, Twachtman and Julian Alden Weir Weir were members of The Society of American Artists, the Tile Club, and the Ten American Painters, and were instructors at the Art Students League of New York. Twachtman was best man at Weir's wedding, and named his son "Alden" after Weir's middle name. A frequent guest at Weir's farm in Branchville, Connecticut, in the southeast corner of Ridgefield, Connecticut, Twachtman rented a home nearby in the summer of 1888 to work alongside Weir. Of painting in the country Twachtman wrote Weir: "I feel more and more contented with the isolation of country life. To be isolated is a fine thing and we are then nearer to nature".
In 1886 he returned to America and settled in Connecticut. By 1889, settled on a farm of his own in Greenwich by 1889, within visiting distance of Weir. He often painted and exhibited with fellow artist Julian Alden Weir, and spent considerable time at the art colony in Cos Cob. His presence was vital to the colony:
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