Thomas Wilmer Dewing

(américain, 1851 - 1938)

model in a turban by thomas wilmer dewing

Thomas Wilmer Dewing

Model in a Turban, 1878

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Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851-1938) was a founding member of the Ten American Painters, who seceded from the Society of American Artists in 1897. He represented the group’s tonalist wing, while Childe Hassam was at the opposite end with full-blown impressionism. Dewing, born in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, first studied drawing under William Rimmer in Boston. After a brief period in Paris, he taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and became a leader of the Boston School of painting. Both John Gellatly and Charles Lang Freer, outstanding art patrons of the Gilded Age, collected Dewing’s works.

The great subtlety of his paintings, containing a "mysterious shadowy beauty," was noticed by the critics. Others suggested that Dewing’s unique style approached the mysterious world of the French symbolists. This figure, seated on some type of bank or wall, has been defined merely by a few quick brushstrokes and glistening highlights against a vague background. Only the fleeting impression of the human form -- perhaps a distant memory -- interested the artist.