A Sunlit Hillside

Robert Vonnoh1890

National Academy of Design

National Academy of Design

"A Sunlit Hillside" offers striking evidence of the transformation of Vonnoh's brushwork and palette which occurred around 1888. Composed of a textured jumble of colorful hatch marks, the sweeping hillside establishes the diagonal which anchors the work and is reiterated by the lines of the roofs and the tumbledown fence. The impastoed surface of acid greens, pinks, yellows, and purples finds its balance in the reduced, flat geometry of the buildings nestled into the slope at right. An absence of doors and windows stresses the abstract elements of this blocky configuration. Such qualities have prompted comparison of "A Sunlit Hillside" to the work of Paul Cézanne. The painting's lumpy facture and a remark of Eliot Clark recorded in Academy records identifying its location as Giverny have naturally led to discussion of Vonnoh's relationship to Claude Monet, as well. While aspects of the painting resemble known depictions of Giverny, May Brawley Hill has identified the buildings as the Moulin du Roi at Grez-sur-Loing.

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