Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let me introduce, Aldro T. Hibbard

This guy is my hero. I was unaware of him until after his death in 1972. I saw a memorial show of his work at the old Doll and Richards gallery, now long gone, on Newbury street in Boston. I was floored by his paintings and I have stayed that way. I have spent a lot of time studying his art.

Most of his paintings are in private collections but a few are out where the public can see them. The Currier museum in Manchester New Hampshire has one hanging and the Whistler house in Lowell, Massachusetts has several very good ones. The Vose gallery in Boston has handled many of the best over the years.

He is from the second generation of the Boston school. The word school here refers to a group of painters rather than an institution with classrooms in building. Hibbard studied with the great American impressionist Edmund Tarbell at the Museum School in Boston. Frank Benson also taught there during this era. Both Tarbell and Benson are important painters with works that hang in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. When they reopen the American Wing you will again be able to see them there, along with the Sargents and Homers.

Aldro Hibbard moved to Rockport, Massachusetts in 1920 and was a part of it's rise to national fame , during the time when there was a fad for summer art colonies around the nation. He taught a summer workshop there for years and coached the Rockport baseball team. He was, like George Bellows obsessed with baseball and probably could have played in the major leagues had he not chosen to pursue his art instead.

Aldro spent his winters painting in Vermont. he is mostly known as a painter of snow. I think he was the best snow painter who ever lived. He would take his Gloucester easel out no matter how cold it was and paint alone in the hills of Vermont. In those days many more of the fields were still open and there were many fine views that no longer exist today. It surprising when you go to the small towns in which he painted to see how nature has reclaimed all of the fields that were once so laboriously cleared.

I had the good fortune to know his daughter who told me about growing up in the heyday of the Rockport art colony. She also spoke of wintering in the snows of a Vermont that was in those days before good roads and interstate highways, extremely remote. She told me once I reminded her of her father and I will treasure that as long as I live. Maybe she was jiving me, but I hope not. I helped put on a large show of this artists paintings at the Rockport Art Association about ten years ago. I went to see it every single day it ran..

There is a book reprinted by that art association and still available there. I recommend you buy one as it was for many years unavailable and artists paid high prices for dogeared copies.It has been reprinted in a small quantity and when they are gone may be unavailable again. This book is ;

" A.T. Hibbard N.A. Artist inTwo Worlds" by John Cooley

it is the only way currently, to own a collection of plates of his work and the last chapter of his book is filled with advice he gave to and was recorded by his students. The telephone number of the Rockport art association is 978 .546.6604.

I intend to spend a little time showing you the work of Aldro .T. Hibbard and I will dissect a few of his paintings like we did with the Metcalfs some time ago.. See you tomorrow.

No comments: