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Metcalf: audacity at the tip of the brush...

Willard-Leroy Metcalf was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1858. An admirer of Claude Monet, whom he met during a stay in Giverny with Théodore Robinson in 1887, he gradually developed a very personal approach to painting. of landscapes, with a keen sense of composition and light.

Willard Leroy Metcalf. On the Suffolk Coast. 1885. collection particulière.
Willard Leroy Metcalf. On the Suffolk Coast. 1885. collection particulière.

After being apprenticed to a wood engraver, Willard-Leroy Metcalf attended the Massachusetts Normal Arts School and then the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

In 1883 he moved to Paris, studied at the Académie Julian, exhibited at the Salon of 1888 where he received a mention. He develops an innate sense of luminosity through a mastery of contrasts in the purest impressionist style.

Willard-Leroy Metcalf. Ballerines. 1885. collection privée
Willard-Leroy Metcalf. Ballerines. 1885. collection privée

Returning to the United States in 1889, Willard-Leroy Metcalf became a member of the Society of American Artists before joining the famous "Group of Ten" (Ten American Painters) who resigned collectively at the end of 1897 to protest against the commercialism of the exhibitions and their fairground atmosphere. Considered the representatives of American Impressionism, the painters of the Group of Ten will organize their own exhibitions for more than 20 years.

Marie Petiet. Autoportrait au chevalet. 1872. Musée Petiet. Limoux
Willard-Leroy Metcalf. Coquelicots. 1905. collection privée

Willard-Leroy Metcalf becomes a professor in New York at the Art Students League and at the Cooper Institute. He knows the celebrity with his landscapes of New England whose style is obviously close to that of Claude Monet.

Pêcheur majorquin, 1908, huile sur toile, Collection privée
Claude Monet. Au bord de la Seine, près de Vétheuil. 1880. National Gallery of Art Washington.

Towards the end of his life, Willard-Leroy Metcalf adopted increasingly light touches and daring layouts, like Early Spring Afternoon in Central Park, with its almost square format and the effects of shadow and sour sun.

Willard-Leroy Metcalf. Early Spring Afternoon Central Park. 1911. Brooklyn Museum NYC
Willard-Leroy Metcalf. Early Spring Afternoon Central Park. 1911. Brooklyn Museum NYC

Willard-Leroy Metcalf died in New York on March 9, 1925.


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



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