Among the American Impressionists, John H. Twachtman expressed a distinctive vision and an experimental nature. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Twachtman took advantage of the city’s art opportunities, including evening classes taught by Frank Duveneck. In 1875 he accompanied Duveneck to Munich, where he adopted the vigorous brushwork and somber palette of the German progressives. By the early 1880s, however, the center of European art had shifted from Munich to Paris, and Twachtman sought a fresh approach at the renowned Académie Julian. Exposed to a broad range of contemporary French art, he abandoned his early Munich-inspired style.
Painted in Normandy, "Springtime" is among the most accomplished and most radical paintings Twachtman made in France. It illustrates the artist’s absorption and transformation of stylistic sources, from aspects of contemporary French painting to the nearly abstract forms and flattened spaces of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and of Japanese prints. Distinguishing his work from that of his colleagues, however, are his expressive, delicate touch and his preference for evocative, serene moments.