Paintings of Autumn 2: 1898-1931

Tom Thomson (1877–1917), The Pointers (1916-17), oil on canvas, 101 x 114.6 cm, Hart House, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. The Athenaeum.

In this second article, I will complete my survey of some of the best paintings of autumn, from the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century.

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Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918), Kastanienallee near Biberist (1898), oil on canvas, 38 × 55 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Leaffall in the autumn at Biberist in northern Switzerland.

William Merritt Chase, First Touch of Autumn (c 1898), oil on canvas, 101.9 x 127.3 cm, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN. WikiArt.
William Merritt Chase, First Touch of Autumn (c 1898), oil on canvas, 101.9 x 127.3 cm, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN. WikiArt.

Another view near Chase’s country retreat at Shinnecock on Long Island.

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Olga Wisinger-Florian (1844–1926), Falling Leaves (1899), oil on canvas, 92.7 x 127.9 cm, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria. Wikimedia Commons.

A wonderful Austrian Impressionist, most active prior to the Vienna Secession.

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John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926), East Rock, New Haven (c 1901), oil on canvas, 77.5 × 113 cm, Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT. Wikimedia Commons.
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Hans Andersen Brendekilde (1857–1942), Wooded Path in Autumn (1902), oil on canvas, 69.8 x 91.4 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.

Now little-known, a Danish social-realist or Naturalist painter.

Autumn in the Mountains exhibited 1903 by Adrian Stokes 1854-1935
Adrian Stokes (1854–1935), Autumn in the Mountains (1903), tempera on canvas, 80.0 x 106.7 cm, The Tate Gallery (Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1903), London. Photographic Rights © Tate 2016, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported), http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/stokes-autumn-in-the-mountains-n01927

A stand of birch trees in the rock-strewn upland pastures of the South Tyrol, with serious mountains in the distance. Painted in freshly-prepared egg tempera.

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Nikolai Astrup (1880–1928), Storehouse in Jølster (1902-05), oil on canvas, 66 x 99 cm, Nasjonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo. The Athenaeum.

Originally titled Sad Autumn Day, for reasons which remain elusive.

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Evelyn De Morgan (1855–1919), The Cadence of Autumn (1905), oil on canvas, dimensions not known, The De Morgan Centre, Guildford, Surrey, England. Wikimedia Commons.

This is remarkable, perhaps unique, for showing the procession of time and the changes seen in autumn across the breadth of the painting. These are reflected in the colours of robes (De Morgan used such ‘colour coding’ elsewhere), the activities, fruits and dead leaves, and the progression across the background.

Five women are shown in a frieze, against a rustic background. From the left, one holds a basket of grapes and other fruit, two are putting marrows, apples, pears and other fruit into a large net bag, held between them. The fourth crouches down from a seated position, her hands grasping leaves, and the last is stood, letting the wind blow leaves out from each hand. They wear loose robes which are coloured (from the left) lilac, gold, brown, green, and black – the colours seen in foliage.

The landscape behind them contains a watermill and surrounding buildings. At the left, the trees are heavy with fruit and the fields either green or ripe corn. At the right, the trees are barren, and the landscape hilly and more wintry. Soft blue-white patches of mist are visible in the foreground on the right.

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Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), Carnival of Autumn (1908), oil on canvas, 76.8 x 76.5 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. The Athenaeum.

Painted in the year that Marsden Hartley moved from Boston to an empty farm near Lovell, Maine.

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Egon Schiele (1890–1918), Autumn Sun and Trees (1912), oil on canvas, 80.2 × 80.5 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons.
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Tom Thomson (1877–1917), Autumn’s Garland (1915-16), oil on canvas, 122.5 x 132.2 cm, National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, ON. The Athenaeum.

Painted from oil sketches made during the previous autumn, in Thomson’s Toronto studio during the following harsh winter.

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Tom Thomson (1877–1917), The Pointers (1916-17), oil on canvas, 101 x 114.6 cm, Hart House, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. The Athenaeum.

Another larger canvas painted by Thomson in his studio during the winter. Its title refers to the loggers’ pointer boats shown crossing this lake.

Thomson’s use of small patches of bright and contrasting colours is reminiscent of the Divisionist techniques of Neo-Impressionism. The types of brushstroke, their directions, and colour combinations vary according to the area being painted. For example, the lake uses longer and finer strokes on a black background, which give the impression of low waves reflecting the colours of the hill and sky.

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Julian Onderdonk (1882–1922), Fall Landscape (date not known), oil on board, 22.9 x 30.5 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Onderdonk was the first prominent Impressionist in Texas, and this view is probably near his home in San Antonio.

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Torajirō Kojima (1881–1929), Autumn in Sakatsu 酒津の秋 (1917), oil on canvas, 87.5 x 115 cm, Ohara Museum of Art 大原美術館, Kurashiki, Japan. Wikimedia Commons.

Torajirō Kojima here paints the countryside where he lived, in Sakatsu, Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Nearby, the Ōhara Museum of Art was founded in 1930, after his death, by his major patron Ōhara Magosaburo, to exhibit many of Kojima’s works. It is now a major international collection.

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Enrique Simonet Lombardo (1866–1927), Otoño en la Dehesa (Autumn in the Dehesa) (1918), oil on canvas, 58 x 43 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.

Shows the brilliant colours of foliage in a landscape characteristic of southern and central Spain and Portugal (where it is known as montado). The Dehesa is a mixed, multifunctional area providing grazing for cattle, goats, sheep and pigs, mixed trees centred on oaks, and support for many endangered species such as the Iberian lynx and Spanish imperial eagle.

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Bruno Liljefors (1860–1939), Autumn Landscape with Fox (1918), oil on canvas, 60 × 80 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons.
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Egon Schiele (1890–1918), Vier Bäume (Kastanienallee im Herbst) (Four Trees, Chestnut Avenue in Autumn) (1918), oil on canvas, 110 × 140.5 cm, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria. Wikimedia Commons.
Pierre Thévenet (1870-1937), The Tuileries Gardens in Autumn (1922). Wikimedia Commons.
Pierre Thévenet (1870-1937), The Tuileries Gardens in Autumn (1922). Wikimedia Commons.

Formerly the gardens of the Tuileries Palace in Paris, which was demolished after it was burned down during the Paris Commune in 1871.

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Paul Nash (1892–1946), Berkshire Downs (1922), oil on canvas, 76 x 55.5 cm, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland. The Athenaeum.

Probably painted when Paul Nash was visiting his father in his home at Iver, in the chalk downland of Berkshire, to the north-west of London.

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Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), Blueberry Highway, Dogtown (1931), oil on composition board, 46.4 x 61 cm, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. Wikimedia Commons.

A classic location in Massachusetts, Dogtown is an abandoned settlement between Gloucester and Rockport. The artist wrote that Dogtown was a cross between Easter Island and Stonehenge.

I hope that, wherever you are, your autumn is as colourful and visually spectacular as these paintings. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, then I hope that you enjoy Spring instead!