Ashcan School - Ernest Lawson part 1


Ernest Lawson by William Glackens 1910 oil on canvas 76.2 x 63.5 cm
Continuing the intermittent theme on the New York "Ashcan School" (see IntroductionOct 2012, William Glackens Oct 2012, Robert Henri Oct - Nov 2012, George Luks Nov 2012, Everett Shinn Nov 2012, George BellowsDec 2012, John Sloan Dec 2012) the next artist I'm featuring is Ernest Lawson.

Ernest Lawson (1873 – 1939) a progressive artist and member of a group of artists called The Eight, achieved early recognition with his impressionist landscape paintings but later in life experienced personal tragedy and artistic isolation. 

Born in Nova Scotia in 1873, Lawson studied at the Art Students League, New York, from 1891 to 1892 and took summer classes in Cos Cob, Connecticut, under J. Alden Weir and John Twachtman. Lawson’s early work has delicate tones and harmonious textures reminiscent of Twachtman’s style. While living in France from 1893 to 1896, Lawson briefly attended the Académie Julian. During this time, he met the Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley, an encounter that confirmed Lawson's love of painting outdoors, and his first success came when the Paris Salon accepted two paintings in 1894. 

Returning to New York in 1898, Lawson concentrated on certain sites of upper Manhattan - their light, seasons, and times of day - a body of work that marked the height of his career. These characteristic works depicting the semi-industrial landscape of New York and the lower Hudson River employ thick impasto, strong contour lines, and areas of bold, yet harmonious colour to create highly structured compositions that appeared quite progressive at the time. They are often constructed of horizontal bands denoting land, water, and sky, while a delicate network of vertical lines creates foreground grasses and trees that reach past the middle ground toward a hazy horizon.

Lawson joined the rebellion against the National Academy of Design when his work was rejected in 1905 and through his friend William Glackens, became a member of The Eight, a group of American artists who were dedicated to challenging the dominance of the Academy. Lawson also participated in the Independent Artists exhibition in 1910 and the Armory Show in 1913. He won numerous awards including gold medals at the Pennsylvania Academy (1907) and Panama Pacific Exposition (1915). A year’s stay in Spain in 1916 with his wife and two daughters may have been the highlight of his private life, but financial troubles and bouts of alcoholism subsequently caused him to lose his family and many patrons. Impoverished and in ill health, Lawson accepted teaching positions in Kansas City and Colorado Springs during the 1920s. In 1936 he moved to Florida, where he died of an apparent heart attack in 1939.

This is part 1 of a 5-part post on the works of Ernest Lawson:

1891 Woodland Scene

1893c View of a Garden in a Paris Suburb oil on canvas 74.3 x 82.5 cm

1894 Barges on the Seine oil on canvas 63.5 x 76.2 cm

1894-1910c The Harlem River from High Bridge oil on canvas 50.8 x 61 cm

1895 Moret-sur-Loing oil on canvas 66 x 132.1 cm

1898 Canal Scene in Winter oil on canvas 55.8 x 66 cm

c1898 Canal Scene In Winter

1899 River Scene in Winter oil on canvas 76.2 x 76.2 cm



1900-10c Red Barns In Spring


1900 On the Hudson River oil on canvas 36.8 x 43.2 cm

1900 On the Hudson River oil on canvas 36.8 x 43.2 cm

c1900 Spring Morning oil on canvas 41 x 51.1 cm

1903-06c Spring oil on canvas

1904 Morningside Heights oil on canvas 87.9 x 103.2 cm


1905 Inwood on Hudson, in the Snow oil on canvas 48.9 x 61 cm



1906 Aqueduct At Little Falls, New Jersey oil on canvas 40.6 x 50.8 cm


1906 Farm Landscape

1906 Harlem River in Winter oil on canvas 63.5 x 76.2 cm

1906 Excavation - Penn Station oil on canvas 47 x 61.6 cm

c1906 By the River oil on panel 57.1 x 74.9 cm


1907 Blue Night oil on canvas 63.5 x 76.2 cm


1907 Floating Ice - Snow Bound Boats, Winter On The River

1907 Harlem River in Winter oil on canvas 45.8 x 61.2 cm

1907 River in Winter oil on canvas 50.8 x 61 cm

1907 Wet Night, Gramercy Park (After Rain; Nocturne) oil on canvas 66.6 x 73.6 cm

c1907 The Broken Fence, Spring Flood oil on canvas 76.7 x 61.1 cm


1907-10 Winter Landscape, Washington Bridge oil on canvas 45.8 x 61 cm


1907-10 Brooklyn Bridge oil on canvas 51.8 x 61 cm

c1907 Ice in the River oil on canvas 50.8 x 61 cm


c1908-10 Boys Bathing oil on canvas 64.5 x 77 cm


1908 Ice on the Hudson oil on canvas 83.8 x 101.6 cm

c1908-10 Summer Afternoon oil on canvas 40.9 x 51.3 cm

c1908 An Abandoned Farm oil on canvas 73.4 x 91.1 cm


1910 Harlem River, Winter oil on canvas 101.6 x 127 cm


1910 Central Park oil on canvas 61 x 71.1 cm

1910 High Bridge—Early Moon oil on canvas 50.8 x 61 cm

1910 Nova Scotia, On The Harlem

1910 Spring Thaw

1910 Shadows, Spuyten Duyvil Hill

1910 Washington Bridge

1910 Winter, Connecticut

c1910 New York Street Scene oil on canvas 81.6 x 60.96 cm

c1910-15 Dunwoodie, Upper New York oil on canvas 51.7 x 61 cm

Comments