Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alfred Hutty's Charleston and Rockport

images from the Gibbs museum, Charleston, S.C.

Alfred Hutty (1877-195400 Born in Michigan Hutty was trained though the Art Students League in New York. He followed famed teacher Birge Harrison to Woodstock, New York where a summer adjunct school was created by Harrison. After Harrison, John Carlson took over theis school which still exists as the Woodstock School of Art. Woodstock was one of the summer art colonies that flourished in the early part of the 20th century. Most were inspired by Giverny and other summer painting grounds that a generation of American impressionists frequented during their atelier years in France.

Hutty found Charleston in 1919, The town had become a backwater and was pretty dilapidated, He painted street scenes of the sagging buildings with their shutters askew and laundry hanging on their porches. Of course all of those buildings have been restored to their former glory now. But from a painters standpoint they were better then. Most of historic Charleston is an 18th city, and was once one of the richest towns in America, her fortunes built on commodities like rice and indigo. "Gone with the Wind" was set in the Charleston area.

A lot of the charm of these etchings is the wonderfully varied lines. Hutty has used the tired facades of these Georgian homes to make arrangements with asymmetrical forms and highly textured surfaces. As many etchers have before him, he exploited the ability of etching to give the rich velvety blacks that contrast with the white of the paper where the plate was left unopened by his needle.

Woodstock and Charleston were not the only art colonies that Hutty visited though. He also spent time in Gloucester and Rockport Massachusetts. He was a member of the North Shore Art Association and below is an etching of Motif number one. I have painted this view many times, I lived less than a hundred yards from it for years. The motif was replaced after being damaged by the no name storm written about in the "The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. Like Charleston it has been saved and restored. Both would have collapsed without their salvation at the hands of the restorers , but they did have more charm for the painter in their dilapidated condition.

Below the Hutty etching is a view of the motif as it looks today.


Frank Gardner said...

Nice etchings Stape. Thanks for sharing them. I don't think I have ever seen Hutty's work before.

Diane Minuti said...

I really enjoyed reading about Alfred Hutty and I loved seeing the etchings. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Brady said...

I have gone on a rant or two about old buildings being torn down. (Usually replaced with some horrible glass cube.)

I guess only artists see the beauty and interest in decay.

If only some restorer would find a way to become a keep as is-er.

Briana M. Corr Scott said...

Thanks for posting these. I would love to see more. Beautiful etchings.

billspaintingmn said...

Another fine Artist, Alfred Hutty!
I've never heard of him, but these
etchings are wonderful.
He invites you into the scene so easily. The details jump my eyes around like a fun game.
Stape, you are on a roll!
Minnesota just got 'the perfect storm' yesterday. It will be an all day shovel. said...

Ah..this is all very interesting because the family that I am going to visit in Charleston has Lainesville (Gloucester -Rockport ) roots. He started out building boats and sailed down to Charleston and started renovating the town. He never sailed back. I wonder if he knows about this Hutty connection.

I was thinking about beauty in decay..I'm not sure that is really what we are artists always see. I think we are also attracted to transitions, transformations and contradictions where beauty can be just on the point of ruin and ruins are vestiges of beauty.

Love the laundry line scene. Its my childhood dejavu.

Antonin Passemard said...

Nice selection of etchings to copy for today ! I love his style.
Thanks for sharing !

Charles Valsechi said...

Stapleton, could you make a post on photographing and scanning your paintings. I have a lot of trouble with this, and have tried advice from many sources.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hey Frank!
I have a book on Huttie's etchings.It is probably long out of print. I love his ramshackle buildings.

Stapleton Kearns said...

You are welcome.

Stapleton Kearns said...

After a hurricane I don't think they had any choice. There was 11 feet of water in the streets.

Stapleton Kearns said...

There is a book on them.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I see the stadium collapsed.......again!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I love good etchings.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is funny how artists have always liked decaying beauty. I guess it breaks up the linearity some.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't think I am the guy to do that, I am not so good at it.