Between 1917 and 1918, Childe Hassam made an impressive suite of forty-five lithographs. He came to the medium as a mature artist who had achieved international recognition as an Impressionist painter and etcher.
The Broad Curtain is an example of Hassam’s wash lithographs, which he called lithotints. He made these painterly prints by brushing a mixture of lithographic ink and turpentine directly onto polished limestone. Recent scholarship has shed light on his working relationship with Oberly and Newell, a commercial workshop in New York, where Hassam made his lithotints.
Hassam’s animated brushstrokes make this interior scene shimmer with light. The artist varied the concentration of ink to achieve this effect. Hassam contrasted the seated figure bathed in light with the opaque plant leaves silhouetted against the window. He suggested sheer curtains with flowing pools of diluted ink and used brushes loaded with gritty black to shroud furniture in shadow.
KG, How He Was to His Talents exhibition, March 24, 2011-August 7, 2011