One of the first American artists to bring French Impressionism home to develop on native soil, Theodore Wendel (1859‒1932) had a remarkable career and stunning oeuvre. His portraits and still lifes, and especially his landscapes, not only exemplify the joyous palette and vigorous brushwork of the genre, but they also mirror the idyllic, transient beauty of rural hamlets along the Massachusetts coast—Gloucester and Ipswich, the dual epicenters of his distinguished career.
One of the original “Duveneck boys” who studied in Munich at the Royal Academy, Wendel followed his mentor to Florence and Venice; he later went on to Paris and ultimately joined a colony of young artists at Giverny, where Monet resided. The scenes and subject matter in the works he completed there are among the earliest by an American artist who adopted and evolved Impressionist strategies. Upon his return to America, he spent the next decades rendering scenes of the farmland and coast north of Boston that contemporary critics acclaimed as some of the best they had seen. His paintings can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; the Terra Foundation for American Art in Chicago; and the Cincinnati Art Museum.