Peach Blossoms—Villiers-le-Bel, 1887-89. Childe Hassam. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. J. Augustus Barnard, 1979.
Hassam studied in Paris from 1887 to 1889. During the summers, he and his wife visited friends at Villiers-le-Bel, about ten miles northeast of the city, in the Oise River valley. There, Hassam painted a series of delightful garden scenes that reflect his lifelong interest in the subject. Although he produced few simple landscapes in the French countryside, this canvas is an exquisite exception. The unruly, overgrown peach tree in an orchard is delectably dynamic, especially in contrast to the controlled vision of nature in the manicured garden that usually preoccupied Hassam at Villiers-le-Bel.